Pentagon to Bail on USMC’s H-1 Helicopter Program?
It seemed fairly straightforward: update a pair of old USMC standbys, creating a transport (UH-1Y Venom) and attack helicopter (AH-1Z Viper) backbone with maximum commonality. It has not worked out that way. The H-1 program has required substantial changes to both cost and schedule four times now, while addressing numerous technical issues. Last month, the Navy warned Bell that the H-1 program was in serious jeopardy because the Texas-based company has been failing to meet its needs, and reserved the option of killing the program. The memo demanded “fundamental changes” in Bell Helicopter’s management processes as well as its production processes. Recertification in Earned Value Management, used to track program performance, is high on the list of “to-dos.”
A Defense Acquisition Board process is underway, and will decide whether to proceed with the program. Since Bell is also managing or involved in the V-22 Osprey, VH-71 presidential helicopter, and the Army’s ARH (Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter), concerns are also being raised in the US Senate about the potential for wider problems. Inside Defense has the report.