Boeing, Army to ask for at least $350M for Longbow choppers

March 11th, 2008  

Topic: Boeing, Army to ask for at least $350M for Longbow choppers

I look around and didn't see this posted. Wouldn't $350 million dollars buy a lot of Defenders to use as scouts? When they say scout they really mean light attack right? Aren't Apache's like $40 million plus per, seems like expensive scout helo? I guess if it's safer for the crew I guess spending the money is the only route. I like the old Defenders but they do lack the armor for safely and assume range and payload as well. Without looking up the specs could Cobra help in certain situations?

Boeing, Army to ask for at least $350M for Longbow choppers
By Roxana Tiron Posted: 03/10/08 06:38 PM [ET] Facing a delay with Bell-Textron’s new armed reconnaissance helicopter, Army aviation officials and Boeing Co. are making their case to Congress for hundreds of millions of dollars to buy more battle-tested Apache Longbow choppers.

The Army has converted most of its older Boeing Apache models, the AH-64 A, into the more capable, high-tech Apache Longbows, or AH-64 D. The Longbow can shoot more rounds, at faster speeds and longer distances, than the earlier models. It is also safer for its two-man crew.
The Army National Guard still employs Apache A models. Four Apache A-model battalions, totaling 92 helicopters, were supposed to be replaced with Bell’s armed reconnaissance helicopter rather than Longbows.
But the Army was sent into a tailspin last year when Bell announced that it was facing development problems that spiked the cost of the reconnaissance helicopter program from $5.3 billion to $6.3 billion. But even as Bell has taken on restructuring the program at its own risk, it will face delays of about two years, according to Army officials.

This delay means leaving those four Apache A-model battalions in the National Guard for at least another nine years. But according to Brig. Gen. Stephen Mundt, the Army’s director of aviation, the problem is more pressing than that: The four Apache-A model battalions in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Texas and Idaho will come up on future rotations to Iraq or Afghanistan.

“I can’t send them with that,” Mundt told The Hill. His options are either to use a spruced-up A-model that would cost about $8 million apiece, or convert those old helicopters into Longbows for $11 million apiece.

“There is a huge [difference] in capability between those two,” Mundt said, stressing that the latter option is the one he prefers. Most Army and National Guard officials, as well as Boeing, share his view.

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March 12th, 2008  
A Can of Man
I'm sure the Apache's a pretty decent reconnaissance vehicle anyway.

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