The UH-72a is a great replacement for the tired fleet of OH-58 & Huey's. Modern technology for 5 mil a copy. The aircraft is a dirivitive of the FAA certificated BK 117 C2 built in Germany, test flown and certificated there, then disassembled, boxed up and shipped to Mississippi for reassembly with all the bells and whistles. Test flown and given an FAA certification with 'N' number, then deregistered and put into military markings.
The aircraft is then to be maintained in accordance with FAR part 91 standards so the parts can be purchased from a 'pool' of civilian parts on an exchange basis for a much lower cost than maintaining an inventory all over the globe. The Arriel 1E2 engines are also to be maintained in accordance with FAR 91 as well. The Arriel engines to be manufactured in pieces in France and completely assembled and test run in Texas.
A nice little package with glass cockpit and 760 shp per engine to fly into the next generation. Gives me wood!
UH-60 A to L conversions and M's freed up to do their jobs as needed, at over 20 mil a copy.
Hmm. Maybe its cost effective but now attention must turn to the convoluted route its takes before it reaches the hands of our...not warfighter (these aircraft aren't certified or designed to be part of the fight)...pilots. Like I said this person sure sounds like he is in the know. So lets assume that the information they provided is correct. Is that really the type of manufacturing base that we want to encourage? Ashton Carter spoke about the US helicopter manufacturing base being in trouble.
DOD Buzz covered the issue quite nicely. So now the question becomes. Is this something that we want farmed out? Is it "good" for our country to have our workforce simply playing Ikea with French engines and German airframes? And despite the costs wouldn't it make sense to have helicopters designed, and built in the US serving our armed forces?