Air Platforms

AUSA 2018: Boeing concerned that CH-47F Block 2 could be targeted for cuts

09 October 2018

Boeing is concerned the US Army could target its CH-47F Chinook Block 2 effort for cuts as the service will need to pay for priorities. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

Key Points

  • Boeing is concerned the US Army could target its CH-47F Block 2 effort for cuts
  • A delay in deliveries could increase the aircraft's unit price and trigger a Nunn-McCurdy breach

Boeing officials are concerned that the US Army could target the company's CH-47F Chinook Block 2 heavy-lift helicopter effort for cuts to help pay for priorities.

"It's logical to think that if you create new stuff that requires funding, there's not a magic pot of gold anywhere," Chuck Dabundo, vice-president of Boeing cargo helicopters and H-47 programme manager, told reporters on 8 October at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, DC. "It has to come from somewhere. We are concerned that Chinook could be a target for something to pull money out of."

The US Army's top priorities are long-range precision fires, a next-generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift (FVL), a network that is sufficiently mobile and expeditionary, air and missile defence, and improved lethality. Further to Dabundo's comments, Randy Rotte, director for cargo helicopters and FVL at Boeing, said that unless sequestration relief continues into 2020, difficult decisions will have to be made. Rotte said he is concerned that CH-47F Block 2's success of being ahead of schedule and under cost could make it a target among US Army leaders deciding to perhaps delay deliveries.

Rotte said CH-47F Block 2 could trigger a Nunn-McCurdy breach if the army ultimately decides to delay deliveries because it would increase the unit cost per aircraft. Dabundo said he was unsure how much of a production gap could cause a Nunn-McCurdy breach, but he believed a five-year pause would be sufficient.

A Nunn-McCurdy breach is when a programme's cost growth exceeds statutory thresholds. This triggers increased scrutiny from Congress and the Pentagon and risks a potential cancellation unless the programme meets new standards.

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