Snakes and Rotors: The USMC’s H-1 Helicopter Program
Retirement dates for last UH-1Ns; USN buying simulators for new UH-1Ys and AH-1Zs; Spares and mission computers ordered.
Sept 5/14: A $41.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 3 UH-1Y flight training devices (aka. simulators), 1 AH-1Z flight training device, aircraft and/or trainer driven revisions, aircraft common operational equipment, provisioned device spares, associated technical data required for operational and maintenance support, and 3 months of initial operation evaluation period for each flight training device. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 Navy reserve and FY 2014 aircraft budgets.
Work will be performed at Broken Arrow, OK (46%); Fort Worth, TX (33%); St. Louis, MO (15%); and Austin, TX (6%), and is expected to be complete in June 2018. The contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302.1 by the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61340-14-C-1000).
Aug 4/14: UH-1Ns. The USMC plans to retire the last of its 205 UH-1N Huey helicopters in September 2015. Of that total, 10 were upgraded to UH-1Ys. Another 5 upgraded HH-1Ns will continue to serve at MCAS Yuma, AZ, but they will retire in 2015. Sources: Navy League Seapower, “Marine Corps to Retire UH-1N Helicopters in September; HH-1Ns in 2015″.
June 20/14: Support. A $44.7 million modification, finalizing a previously awarded contract to a cost-plus-fixed-fee price contract to repair various parts for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z Upgrade Helicopters. FY 2014 US Navy budgets will be drawn on as needed.
Work will be performed in Hurst, TX, and work is expected to be complete by January 2017. No funds will be obligated at the time of award and contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was a non-competitive requirement in accordance with 10 USC. 2304 (c)(1), managed by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-14-D-015N).
May 29/14: Sub-contractors. Northrop Grumman Guidance and Electronics Co. in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $25 million delivery order for 119 H-1 upgrade tech refresh mission computers. Those have been broken out into a separate purchase by the US Navy, as a way to improve costs. $10.9 million in US Navy FY 2013 – 2014 aircraft budgets is committed immediately.
Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA (79%); Salt Lake City, UT (13%); and Baltimore, MD (8%); it is expected to be complete in October 2017 (N00019-11-G-0016, DO 0002).
The US Marines’ helicopter force is aging at all levels, from banana-shaped CH-46 Sea Knight transports that are far older than their pilots, to the 1980s-era UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters that make up the Corps’ helicopter assault force. While the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey program has staggered along for almost 2 decades under accidents, technical delays, and cost issues, replacement of the USMC’s backbone helicopter assets has languished. Given the high-demand scenarios inherent in the current war, other efforts are clearly required.
Enter the H-1 program, the USMC’s plan to remanufacture older helicopters into new and improved UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters. The new versions would discard the signature 2-bladed rotors for modern 4-bladed improvements, redo the aircraft’s electronics, and add improved engines and weapons to offer a new level of performance. It seemed simple, but hasn’t quite worked out that way. The H-1 program has encountered its share of delays and issues, but the program survived its review, and continued on into production and deployment.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article covers the H-1 helicopter programs’ rationales and changes, the upgrades involved in each model, program developments and annual budgets, the full timeline of contracts and key program developments, and related research sources.
The H-1 Helicopters
UH-1Y & AH-1Z: Performance Issues
The H-1 Upgrade Program
H-1 Upgrade: Force Size & Structure Shifts
H-1 Program: Budgets & Industrial Partners
Contracts and Key Events
FY 2005 – 2006
FY 1999 – 2004
Additional Readings & Sources
Helicopters & Ancillaries
News & Views
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