Military Capabilities

SNC believes few new data rights make its UH-1N replacement offering a winner

31 July 2018

Sierra Nevada is offering its Sierra Force, a recapitalised UH-60A-to-L model, for the US Air Force’s UH-1N replacement programme. Source: SNC

Key Points

  • SNC believes fewer data rights in its UH-1N replacement offering will lead to a more affordable aircraft
  • The company is offering recapitalised UH-60A-to-L models for the US Air Force’s UH-1N replacement programme

Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) believes that its offering of recapitalised Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters for the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) UH-1N replacement programme will be a winner because the service will have to spend less money acquiring data rights.

“There is nothing unique or out-of-the-ordinary from a data rights perspective that [the Pentagon] doesn’t already own,” Jack Bailey, SNC director of proposal management for integrated mission systems, told Jane’s in a recent interview. “So there’s no an additional or second cost because this isn’t a new aircraft to [the Pentagon].”

SNC announced on 23 July it submitted its Sierra Force helicopter as its final bid in the USAF’s effort to replace its ageing Bell UH-1N helicopters used for VIP transportation in the Washington area and for nuclear missile silo security, among other missions. Sierra Force is a UH-60A upgraded into a UH-60L model, according to a company statement.

SNC will purchase divested UH-60As from the US Army via the service’s Black Hawk Exchange and Sales Transaction (BEST) programme. Then it will convert the aircraft’s exterior and interior, effectively upgrading it to a UH-60L model.

The Sierra Force UH-60L will be equipped with two new General Electric Aviation T-701D engines and a new glass cockpit and avionics suite. SNC will also use a metal airframe, different from composite materials, which the company believes will enable a longer service life and lower overall maintenance costs.

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