SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1083]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004H.R. 1588
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
TACTICAL AIR AND LAND FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING
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TITLE IIRESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION
MARCH 12, 2003
TACTICAL AIR AND LAND FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania, Chairman
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
HOWARD ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
WALTER JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
EDWARD SCHROCK, Virginia
RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK LoBIONDO, New Jersey
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
ROBERT BRADY, Pennsylvania
JOHN LARSON, Connecticut
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
KENDRICK MEEK, Florida
RODNEY ALEXANDER, Louisiana
Douglas Roach, Professional Staff Member
Roger Smith, Professional Staff Member
Bob Lautrup, Professional Staff Member
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJJ Gertler, Professional Staff Member
Jesse Tolleson, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, March 12, 2003, Fiscal Year 2004 National Defense Authorization ActArmy and Navy Rotorcraft Programs and Texchnology Base
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2003
FISCAL YEAR 2004, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTARMY AND NAVY ROTORCRAFT PROGRAMS AND TEXCHNOLOGY BASE
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Weldon, Hon. Curt, a Representative from Pennsylvania, Chairman, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
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Abercrombie, Hon. Neil, a Representative from Hawaii, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
Bergantz, Maj. Gen. Joseph L., Program Executive Officer for Aviation
Flater, M.E. Rhett, Executive Director, American Helicopter Society International; Mr. Dean C. Borgman, President, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation; Mr. John R. Murphey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bell Helicopter Textron and Mr. Roger A. Krone, Senior Vice President, Army Systems, The Boeing Company
Kilcline, Rear Adm. Thomas J., Jr., United States Navy Head, Aviation Plans and Requirements Branch of the Navy Air Warfare Directorate
Killion, Dr. Thomas H., Director for Technology Under the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology
Laux, Tom, Acting Program Executive Officer, (Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault and Special Missions)
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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Bergantz, MG Joseph L.
Borgman, Dean C.
Flater, M.E. Rhett
Kilcline, Rear Adm. Thomas J., Jr.
Murphey, John R.
Weldon, Hon. Curt
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2004 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTARMY AND NAVY ROTORCRAFT PROGRAMS AND TECHNOLOGY BASE
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House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 12, 2003.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 5:43 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Curt Weldon (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CURT WELDON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM PENNSYLVANIA, CHAIRMAN, TACTICAL AIR AND LAND FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. WELDON. This afternoon, the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee meets to receive testimony from both government and industry witnesses on the breadth of the Department of Defense's current rotorcraft programs and the industrial base to support those platforms, as well as the technologies for future rotorcraft requirements.
I have been told this is the first such hearing ever by this committee on the rotorcraft industrial base. And I say it is about time.
Currently, there are 11 different major rotorcraft programs within the Department of Defense (DOD). All are manufactured by one of the three major helicopter manufacturers represented here todayBell Textron, Boeing, and Sikorsky. I might add there used to be four, and now we have three major manufacturers. We want to make sure we do not end up with two.
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While there are 11 different types of rotorcraft programs, most of these aircraft were fielded beginning in the early 1970s and continuing through the 1990s. In the fiscal year (FY) 2004 budget request, funds are requested for only two major platforms: two variants of the Sikorsky 860, for both the Army and the Navy, and two variants of the Bell Boeing V22 tilt-rotor aircraft for the Marine Corps and the Air Force.
The remainder of procurement funds requested are for six major upgrade programs to existing helicopters, which include the Apache Longbow heavy-attack helicopter, the Army and U.S. Special Operations Command Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, the Army Blackhawk utility helicopter, the Marine Corps Huey utility helicopter, and the Marine Corps Sea Cobra Attack helicopter.
I am concerned that most of these aircraft have already reached at least their first 20-year lifespan with the average age of Chinook variants to be upgraded to the more capable F models being over 12 years old.
What is deceiving about the age of the D variants is that they are already in their second remanufacture. Similarly, the average age of the Marine Corps Huey, which will be upgraded to the Yankee model, is already 28-plus years old.
I am somewhat less concerned about the average age of the current Marine Corps Sea Cobra fleet, which is over 13 years old.
Fortunately, it appears that we will begin this upgrade in fiscal year 2004 to achieve economies of scale while upgrading the UH1N variant.
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As far as future platforms, there are only two rotorcraft programs currently in development.
The Army has request $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2001 for continued development of its Comanche reconnaissance attack helicopter. The Comanche is designed to replace the Kiowa Warrior, which is forecast to remain in the inventory for the next 20 years while the Comanche continues in development and is fielded. It appears the Comanche program is finally funded adequately in this request, and we will be watching this program's progress throughout the fiscal year, since this is such a pivotal year for the program.
The Department of the Navy has requested $197.4 million in the fiscal year 2004 request for the replacement of the VH3 Presidential Support helicopters, which are over 27 years old.
The point is the Department of Defense's rotorcraft fleet is getting pretty long in the tooth. And the lifespan of the current fleet will be used up much faster over the next several years, now that we are operating our forces at such a much higher tempo in the war on terrorism and especially if we go to war with Iraq.
I am concerned that the adequate amount of resources for rotorcraft are not being applied by DOD since most new aircraft are being produced at a minimum sustaining rate and the aircraft that are being upgraded could be modified and fielded at a must higher economic rate.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I would add for my colleagues, as a senior member of the Science Committee, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames has a responsibility for rotorcraft research. The budget for the next two years for NASA rotorcraft research is zero dollars each yearzero. Not a dime of money. As a secondary factor, they said they are going to put $15 million in fiscal year 2005 to match $15 million that the Army would put forward. That is a separate issue that we have to be cognizant of, that we are not getting the support for rotorcraft research from the non-defense agencies, as well as the concern that we have relative to DOD agencies.
I would hope that DOD would not allow the presidential replacement helicopter program to become a prolonged development initiative like the Comanche has been. This does not serve our forces well, who should have the best technology in the world, nor the U.S. companies that are struggling to maintain some production and research and development capability to continue to fulfill future defense requirements and try to remain competitive in international markets.
Also, before the subcommittee today are the future technology initiatives that are under way to produce advanced future rotorcraft for the military. From my experience as chairman of this committee's former Military Research and Development Subcommittee, I believe that we need to spend more on rotorcraft technologies and related research and development efforts. This is the seed corn that will keep the U.S. rotorcraft industrial base viable to fulfill future defense requirements and remain internationally competitive, especially with such diverse needs as homeland security, drug interdiction, and other challenges where our rotorcraft, I think, offer an excellent opportunity for us to excel.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today we have both the government panel of witnesses, representing the Department of the Army and the Department of the Navy, as well as an industry panel comprised of the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the three major U.S. rotorcraft manufacturers.
Our DOD panel is comprised of Major General Joseph Bergantz, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Army aviation. General, it is great to have you here.
Dr. Thomas Killion, Director for Technology under the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology. Thank you.
Rear Admiral Tom Kilcline, Jr., head of Aviation Plans and Requirements branch for Navy Warfare Directorate. Thank you.
And Mr. Thomas Laux, acting Program Executive Officer, Air Assault and Special Missions programs. Thank you also.
Our industry panel will consist of Mr. Rhett Flater. Rhett is the Executive Director of the American Helicopter Society International. John Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Bell Helicopter Textron. Roger Krone, Senior Vice President of Army systems for The Boeing Company. Dean Borgman, President, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.
I would like to proceed today with the first panel's testimony and then go into questions for that panel, and then immediately take the second panel's testimony, which will then be followed by questions.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Before I turn it over to my good friend from Hawaii, I would like to extend the condolences of myself and this committee to the families of the soldiers that were lost in the Army Blackhawk that crashed yesterday at Fort Drum, New York, and our hopes for a full recovery to the two survivors of that crash. I would ask my colleagues to join in a moment of silence meditation in recognition and honor of these brave American patriots.
(MOMENT OF SILENCE)
I would now like to recognize the gentleman from Hawaii and my good friend, Neil Abercrombie, for any remarks he would like add.
And I would say the reason we are holding this hearing at this time is we have a very crammed schedule, and we are going to take advantage of as much of an opportunity for hearings. Neil is a very flexible leader, said, ''Curt, I will come any time you are there.'' So we are here, 5:00 to 7:00, showing that we do care about these issues, and want to make sure that we have an opportunity to talk about some very vitally important programs for our nation.
My good friend, Neil.
STATEMENT OF HON. NEIL ABERCROMBIE, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM HAWAII, RANKING MEMBER, TACTICAL AIR AND LAND FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. As usual, your command of the subject matter is second to none. And with that, I would like to get to the panels as quickly as possible.
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Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman.
I would also like to thank our vice chairman who has now been announced, Dr. Gingrey. Thank you for joining this panel, and thank you for the leadership role that I expect you to play this year.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. With that, we will turn it over to General Bergantz.
It is all yours.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. JOSEPH L. BERGANTZ, PROGRAM EXECUTIVE OFFICER FOR AVIATION, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY; DR. THOMAS H. KILLION, DIRECTOR FOR TECHNOLOGY UNDER THE DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY; REAR ADM. (RDML) TOM KILCLINE, HEAD, AVIATION PLANS AND REQUIREMENTS BRANCH (N780) DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY; AND MR. TOM LAUX, ACTING PROGRAM EXECUTIVE OFFICER, (AIR ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE, ASSAULT AND SPECIAL MISSIONS) DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
General BERGANTZ. Thank you, sir.
Chairman Weldon, Representative Abercrombie and distinguished members of this subcommittee, I want to thank you all for inviting us over to have this opportunity to brief you on Army aviation and to tell you about our rotorcraft programs.
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As mentioned, I am Joe Bergantz, the PEO for Aviation. We have also got with us here Colonel John Bendyk; he is the division aviation chief for the deputy chief of staff for G8.
Sir, I have a written statement that I submitted for the record, and I have about 10 minutes' worth of comments here to open up. And then we have provided each of you a packet that we will go through and you can follow as I go through my comments. And we are prepared then to get, in the question and answer portion.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, General. And budget increases are directly in response to the length of your statement. So just keep that in mind. [Laughter.]
General BERGANTZ. Okay.
Army aviation is a key enabler to the ground force and an integral part of the legacy, interim, and objective force, as well as homeland security. Army aviation plays a major role in combat, combat support, and combat service support. And we see it as a provider in those areas using the Apache, the Blackhawk, the Chinook, the Kiowa Warrior, and in the future the Comanche and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Underpinning this acquisition process and this modernization is a strong requirements base. Requirements typically bubble up either from the field or they come in through the training and doctrine command centers and schools. They are gathered together and put into what is called an operational requirements document (ORD). This is then vetted at the Department of the Army level and in a process called the AROC, which is the Army Requirements Oversight Council. This council vets those requirements, and if it is a major decision acquisition program, those requirements are then taken to the joint staff level for the JROC, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, to review.
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The consistency of the JROC is basically a body that has the vice chiefs, the assistant commandant, and it also is chaired by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. But the real business done up there is the JROC ensures that they determine and rationalize the requirements across the services. They ensure that all the non-material approaches have been looked at before we, you know, pursue a material approach. They prioritize the joint requirements, and they also evaluate alternatives based on cost schedule and technical performance. And then finally they assure that the key performance parameters are identified, that they are reasonable, and that reasonable thresholds and objectives have been set.
Recent JROC actions concerning Army programs include the approval of the ORDS for Comanche, Blackhawk and Chinook, and also the setting of key performance parameters for those programs.
Now that I have kind of outlined the requirements process, we will get into more of the procurement process, which is my lane in this.
A year ago, Comanche was struggling. And I can tell you now, though, it is in good shape, after a year of hard work. And it has the budget and the schedule to be successful.
Comanche, the first helicopter that we want to talk about today, is a multi-role, armed, reconnaissance and a light-attack aircraft. It provides close combat, vertical maneuver, and mobile strike capabilities, fully interoperable with the future combat systems that we are developing as well and with joint assets. It is built by Boeing and Sikorsky.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It was restructured, as I said, last year. On the 7th of October, we had a Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) with Mr. Aldridge, and it was approved to go forward.
The acquisition strategy is evolutionary in scope now. We are presently in the engineering and manufacturing development phase. We will go through a low-rate initial production phase, and then go into blocks. Presently approved is the strategy to go through block three. Blocks four and five are to be determined at a later date.
The low-rate initial production phase will include three lots, amounting to 73 aircraft, for a total buy in blocks one through three of 650 aircraft, at a peak rate of about 60 aircraft per year.
Low-rate initial production is currently scheduled for fiscal year 2007, and in fiscal year 2008 we will start to begin to get deliveries of these aircraft. And then the first unit equipped (FUE) will be available in fiscal year 2009.
Comanche is an integral part of the unit of action, the Army's new unit of action. It is a brigade-size element. Each unit of action will contain 12 Comanche helicopters. It will be teamed with the UAVs in that unit, and we will talk to them across a tactical common data link that all the services are moving toward. Through that, it will be able to achieve and share unprecedented situational awareness, and that is what sets it apart from today's common helicopters.
The stealth, lethality, agility, sustainability of Comanche, and its ability to work interoperable with the other forces make it a versatile and responsive asset across the spectrum of conflict.
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Next let us turn to the Apache. The mission of the Apache is more of heavy attack. Its mission is to target and destroy enemy forces, day or night, adverse weather, does not matter, supporting the joint commander. And it is built by Boeing in Mesa, Arizona.
Currently we have two models, the A model and the D model. The A model is armed with semi-active laser Hellfire missiles, 2.75-inch rockets, and 30-millimeter cannon. The D model gives the aircraft a much more digitized cockpit. Gives it multi-function displays, better reliabilities. Fire-control radar is another major add. And then a radar-guided radio frequency (RF) missile that it can fire.
These aircraft are organized into battalions and aircraft squadrons. The acquisition strategy now is to complete the 501 D models that are presently being remanufactured from A models.
Each Apache last year flew on the average of 175 flights hours, and since its inception, we have lost 45 Apaches to accidents, and the Class A accident rate was 6.99 per 100,000 flight hours in FY02.
Now let's turn our attention to the Blackhawk. This is the real utility workhorse in the Army. Not only in the Army, but across all the services, you will find Blackhawks or variants of them.
In the Army, the Blackhawk performs the air assault role, and it also acts in general support. And in fact, 24 percent of the Blackhawk fleet in the Army is tied up in the medical evacuation (MEDIVAC) mission. It will also host the new Army airborne command and control system in the near future, and that is basically a flying tactical operations center with five work stations in the back cabin area.
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This is built by Sikorsky in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Our special forces also use the Blackhawk, an MH60K and L variant. And that has got a multi-mode radarit is further equipped with a multi-mode radar, a fleer, and mini-guns, rockets, Hellfire missiles capable, and it also has an aerial refueling boom on it so it can mid-air refuel.
Currently the conventional forces have two models of Blackhawks, the A model and the L model. Roughly 967 aircraft are A models. We have 500, roughly, L models at this time. And in the development cycle right now, we have the UH-60M model, which is our next version of the Blackhawk. What we are doing is taking A and L models and remanufacturing them into M models.
Currently we are on a five-year procurement buy, also, our sixth multi-year, and that is with the Navy. And over the next five years, the Army will buy 80 more L models and the Navy will buy 82 more SH60s.
UH60M begins deliveries in the FY08 timeframe with a digitized cockpit and improved durability gear box, a 701D engine, and a wide-cord blade. UH60M can lift 5,300 pounds externally or 11 combat-loaded troops internally.
The acquisition strategy is to buy 20 new M models, remanufacture the 1,500-plus A and L models in the long term, while recapping 193 A to A models at the Corpus Christi Army Depot over the next 10 years.
Blackhawk has averaged 174 flying hours, roughly, last year per aircraft. Seventy-three Blackhawks have been lost since 1988. And the Class A accident rate in the FY02 was 1.63 per 100,000 flying hours.
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Now let's turn our attention to the Chinook, our largest aircraft. It is a tandem rotor cargo helicopter with three external hooks, capable of carrying a total of 26,000 pounds externally and capable of carrying 33 combat-loaded troops or 24 litter patients internally. This is built by Boeing at Boeing Philadelphia.
Models today include 429 CH47Ds and 36 MH47 special ops aircraft in our current fleet. These are organized in the conventional forces in the companies of 14 aircraft each. And they reside in the corps and the theater level units.
The acquisition strategy now is to take the CH47Ds and the conventional force and the MH47Ds and Es, and remanufacture those into CH47Fs and MH47Gs. This puts on the SO birds, the special operations birds, it puts on longer-range tanks, multi-mode radar, a fleer, and an aerial refueling boom much like the MH60 has.
Chinooks averaged 139 flying hours last year. And since 1985, 19 CH47s have been lost in accidents. And the Class A accident rate was 6.78 per 100,000 flying hours. I might add, some of these accidents include combat losses, so it is not just training accidents or things like that.
The Kiowa Warrior is a light-attack reconnaissance aircraft. Was built by Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas. It is organized into attack batallions, light infantry, and airborne divisions and in aircraft squadrons. Kiowa Warrior can carry Hellfire missiles, 2.75-inch rockets, air-to-air Stingers, and 50-caliber machine guns.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Kiowas flew roughly 240 flight hours last year per aircraft. And since its inception there have been 36 Kiowas lost to accidents, with an accident rate of 5.46 per 100,000 flying hours in 2002.
Now I want to talk a little bit about UAVs. They are used to increase the flexibility and to give it adaptability to the tactical unit commander, all the way from platoons up to the corps level, allowing the maneuver commander to actually extend his reach much beyond where he can today.
The Army has three companies of Hunter Systems presently in our inventory in the field: at Fort Hood, at Fort Polk, and soon to be at Fifth Corps in Germany. A system consists of six vehicles and three ground control stations.
These aircraft have flown more than 7,000 flights, more than 24,000 flight hours. It is a 1,600-pound class, UAV, and it has got a 275-pound payload, has eight-to 12-hour duration of endurance, and it can fly up to altitudes of 15,000 feet. It is built by TRW in California.
The Shadow tactical UAV is the UAV that we are currently fielding. This UAV, we have purchased through low-rate initial production 13 systems, and we have the first rate of full-rate production ongoing this year for nine more systems. It is in process now. And there will be 19 additional systems in the following years to come.
Each system is a platoon consisting of 22 personnel, four air vehicles per system, two ground control stations and two remote video terminals. This is about a 350-pound class vehicle with a 60-pound payload. It has got a four-plus-hour endurance at 15,000 feet. These systems are fielded at Fort Wachuka, one unit at Fort Hood, and two up at Fort Lewis. The Shadow is built by AAI in Hunt Valley, Maryland.
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New UAV program efforts that include extended-range multi-purpose, interim small air vehicle and 160 are on the books, and I will talk in just a minute about each of those.
ERMP is an intended-range, multi-purpose vehicle divisional and core-level asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. It is set to operate at medium altitudes. The interim small unit of UAV is a squad and platoon-level UAV for dismounted troops.
The Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft is a UAV that we are jointly working, along with the Hummingbird, the A160, with DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA has the lead on both those programs now, but we are cost-sharing those programs over the next couple years. And we will get them up to a requisite level of technology-readiness of level seven before we transition them into the Army's typical procurement cycle.
Both of these are vertical takeoff and lift vehicles. These manned and unmanned air vehicles fit together nicely, according to the Trident chart, the last chart that is it in your package. And if you want to take a second and look at that, I will explain the chart a little bit.
There are three axes on there. The top axis is the legacy axis, and that is where the bulk of our fleet is now. It is in sustainment, and it is undergoing the recapitalization programs that I mentioned earlier. For example, the AH64A models are being remanufactured into D models, just to give you an idea how that works.
They go through selective upgrades, and they alsothere are some efforts ongoing, as I mentioned earlier, for the UH-60 for A models to befor the near term, to be just overhauled to A models. Again, that is the rebuild piece on the bottom.
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The objective piece in the center is more the modernization piece, pure modernization. Comanche, of course, resides on there. Our unmanned air vehicles resides on there.
The interim axis on the bottom represents the work that is going on out at Fort Lewis with the striker brigade combat teams.
So there is a delicate balance going on between all three of these axes, and they all come together and we have to ultimately get to the objective force.
The development, production and sustainment or our aviation weapons system are dependent, heavily, on the industrial base. Some of the problems we see in the Army are programs that have with the industrial base are as follows:
One is obsolescence. As we got more and more into commercial protocols, into commercial parts, off-the-shelf items and things like that, we found ourselves more and more a victim of Moore's law, that these things turn over 15 or 16 months. And as a result, we have had to consciously put in active programs, both in development and also in production, to address obsolescence of parts. We are doing that. We have just done that recently on the Comanche to take care of some parts that were going obsolete. So we fixed those things. But it is a constant thing that we have to be careful about, and we have to build in a consciousness.
Contractor rate increases is another one. Due to the economy over the last couple years, with the way it has been, we have not been, one, able to buy as many systems. And as a result, we have maintained our status quo. We have not been able to increase a whole lot. So the defense sectors remain fairly constant, but the commercial side of the sector has seen some downturn. So when you looked at the whole business base, the defense side of it has picked up more of the pie, so to speak. And as a result of that, there will be additional increases to the defense contracts. This is because of the overhead and so forth that gets spread across the whole base.
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Coupled with this has been poor performance, I think. I have seen most recently in some of the retirement funds, the pension funds and so forth, and also in some of the Medicare benefits have been increasing in cost. And these compound the problem somewhat.
Contractor competitiveness is another issue that I see, because it seems to be declining. And that is because of two main reasons: One, due to mergers. Some of these competitors buy out the other.
And as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, that has happened with the prime contractors too.
The other part of it is that there is a reduced business base. As I said, we have not been able to increase our business base, so we are, in some cases, we are actually buying less than we had been.
Another concern is the reduced quantities that, with new defense buys, when the contractor cannot build as many as he had been in the past, he has to reduce his workforce in some cases. And that causes a problem for the services then, if we were to have to surge, at some point downstream.
Reduced readiness rates is the final one, and that is primarily due to the unavailability of spare parts. In the past, we have had problems, the past couple years, buying at up to 85-percent stockage level, which is where we would like to be. Most recently though, we have done some pretty good work at the depots in partnering and working some of these problems. And we have been able, through lobbying, also to get, I think, some monies into the spare parts business, which is I think starting to turn a corner now.
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On the bright side, I think, I should say in wrapping up, that Army aviation is transforming to the objective force. We are syncing our programs with the future combat systems through block upgrades and embracing the new communications sensor and ground support architectures.
Joint tactical radio system (JTRS) is one of the connectivity pieces that we are very high on, and as a result, we are making it an addition as cluster one to all our aviation programs.
Our recap efforts in concert with this are helping us get the transformation and keeping us safe and with acceptable levels of reliability.
Meanwhile, we have got to fight the global war on terrorism, so we are spending our money on that as well. But we cannot overlook or neglect the future. We need to keep our investments in these science and technology areas, because that fuels revolutionary development and keeps us on the right road, I think, to get the best and optimize the manned and unmanned teaming that we see going to happen in the objective force.
Army S&T lies in basic research, which is academia, industry, and government laboratory things. It lies in applied research, which is new technologies such as propulsion, rotor and drive systems, advanced electronics, composites, structures and so forth. And it also lies in advanced technology development, ACTDsadvanced concept technology demonstrations, and the like, much like UCAR that we are doing with the DARPA systems.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Army aviation is responding to today's challenges and is ready to join the objective force.
This completes my statement, Mr. Chairman.
Actually, sir, I think I spoke for Dr. Killion
[The prepared statement of General Bergantz can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. Oh, you did?
General BERGANTZ [continuing]. But he is here to help field questions, if there are any.
Mr. WELDON. Well, then you get a plus for that one. [Laughter.]
Thank you, Dr. Killion, for that excellent statement. [Laughter.]
Admiral KILCLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a short oral statement, but I wish to submit my written statement for the record.
Mr. WELDON. Without objection.
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Admiral KILCLINE. I thank you very much.
Mr. Chairman and other distinguished members of the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, I am Rear Admiral Tom Kilcline. I head Aviation Plans and Requirements, Naval Air Warfare Directorate.
In representing our Navy Marine Corps team here, I am joined by Mr. Tom Laux, who is the Program Executive Officer, Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault, and Special Mission programs. Tom will not have a statement either; I will be talking for both of us. Colonel Ray Schwartz, Head, Aviation Weapons Systems Requirements branch and Headquarters Marine Corps. And Captain Wayne Tunic, Head, Helicopter Requirements, again in the DEirectorate of the Naval Air Warfare.
We are pleased to appear before you to provide an update on the Department of the Navy rotorcraft programs and future technology initiatives and concern. I and my Navy and Marine Corps colleagues and our rotorcraft community sincerely appreciate your interest in our rotorcraft program capabilities and initiatives.
In front of you, you will find a packet showing not only the concept of operations (CONOPS) for our helicopters, but also some specific platforms. I will be followedmy short statementby Captain Tunic and Colonel Schwartz, and they will go through each one of those programs with you.
But first let me start off by saying in my oral statement that rotorcraft are vital for the future success of our Navy Marine Corps team. The new global CONOPS organizes the fleet into carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups, and surface action groups.
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This change involves more than just in-theater assignment of forces from carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups, the concept also is that the new strike groups will train together and deploy as a cohesive unit. In addition to transitions, enable forces from 19 to 37 independent strike groups.
Navy Marine rotorcraft constitute a common thread that affects the realization of these concepts. It is with this backdrop that we look ahead to transition the technologies required to accomplish our vision.
As you are keenly aware, rotorcraft are an essential Navy Marine Corps deployed force. In support of Navy CPAR 21 concept, maritime forces will provide sea-strike shield and sea-basing capabilities of unprecedented range and accuracy, global connectivity of great capacity and survivability and streamlined logistics to support joint forces throughout the battle space.
With the chief of Naval Operations' approval of Naval Helicopter Concept of Operations in January of 2002, the rotary wing transformation initiative took a major step forward. Simultaneously, the Marine Aviation Campaign plan established a vision for the Marine Corps rotorcraft operations of the future.
Because of the diverse applications and distinctly distinctive battle group missions, the Navy and Marine Corps offer unique solutions to specific needs. However, Naval rotorcraft are required to realize the full capabilities of the carrier strike group, expeditionary strike group and the surface action group.
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Additionally, we have included in our plans a vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle, or a VTUAV. The VTUAV will provide additional capabilities to the helicopter force and complement the roles and missions of future rotorcraft.
The Navy helicopter concept of operations, which is already under way, outlines the neck down of the Navy's battle group helicopter force from seven platform type model series to threethe MH-60 Sierra, the MH-60 Romeo, and the MH-53 Echowith the overall objective of greatly expanding the warfighting capability while significantly reducing cost. This plan capitalizes on the efficiencies of singular maintenance, logistics and training pipelines, while satisfying the needs of both the active and reserve force.
The helicopter concept will change the helicopter force and command structure in order to get the maximum warfighting capability from the total helicopter force and the men and women who will fight with them.
The Marine Aviation Campaign plan is a vision for the Marine Corps aviation to obtain the highest possible combat readiness to support expeditionary maneuver warfare while at the same time preserving and conserving our most precious assetsour Marines and sailors and their equipment.
The Marine Aviation Campaign plan incorporates technological advances, innovative personnel management, balanced operations tempo and operational risk management to make our aviation units more prepared for combat operations.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These two transformational plans are helping to change our Navy today. Yet these plans can only come to fruition with the continued support of the dedicated industry team. Our longstanding partnership with industry has achieved much. These familiar names include Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter Textron, Boeing, General Electric aircraft engines, Rolls Royce, and Northrup Grumman. They and numerous smaller companies form a cadre of suppliers for the Navy Marine Corps team, building platforms and engines, designing systems and tools for complex applications, and investing dollars into research and development.
Although we have seen a downward trend in rotorcraft contractual funding over the last five years, we anticipate a major change from that trend. From 1998 to 2002, the Navy and Marine Corps Rotorcraft Program spent $6 billion with industry. From 2003 we anticipate through 2008 the business space will triple. The expanded business opportunities exist for our partners in the future.
The Navy Marine Corps transformation is under way. We will continue to encourage our industry partners to seek innovative solutions to the challenges we face in meeting sea-strike, sea-shield, and sea-basing missions of the future.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again for this opportunity to briefly share with the subcommittee the challenges and the successes of the Navy Marine Corps rotorcraft community.
I would like to now, as I mentioned earlier, explore those specific platforms. And following this discussion, we will look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First I would like to introduce Captain Wayne Tunic, who will review the Navy CONOPS and specific helicopter platforms.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Kilcline can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Captain TUNIC. Good evening, Mr. Chairman.
If I can draw your attention to the packet that was handed out for the Navy and to slide one. That is our helo master plan and the transition from the master plan to the helo helicopter CONOPS, which the admiral was talking about.
The helo master plan was an acquisition strategy to neckdown the type model series from seven, which you can see the pictures of each of those helicopters on the left side of the slide, to two, which is the MH60 Romeo and the MH60 Sierra.
One of the things that brought about the transition from this acquisition strategy to a helicopter CONOPS is the S3 sundown, and that is the retirement of the S3 off the carrier. Helicopters will be picking up its role in the anti-surface warfare mission.
The result is an all-860 helicopter fleet, consisting of the Romeo and the Sierra. And as you can see on the slide, the MH-53 is currently under evaluation to determine its replacement and future role.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If I can draw your attention to the next slide there. That is the maritime dominance vision. And one important asset to bring out in this discussion is that these new helicopters have a great deal of effort put into bringing the best sensors possible for them to do their missions.
On this slide, you can see there the radar that will be in the MH-60R is a multi-mode, high-tech radar. There is a dipping sonar, which is the advanced low-frequency sonar, ISARsynthetic aperture radarwhich is an imaging radar which will be on the Romeo, and an advanced electronic surveillance measure (ESM) system that has a passive detection capability.
Both aircraft, the Romeo and the Sierra, will have an advanced fleer on it, and the Sierra will bring a new mission to the battle group and that is the organic airborne mine countermeasures capability, the capability to do mine warfare with the battle group rather than having to fly assets from the Continental United States (CONUS) or deployed overseas to do the mission.
These helicopters will be linked across the battle group with Link 16 and tactical common data link. Link 16 will go between other platforms in the battle group and the Romeo and Sierra helicopters acting as a team, and the tactical common data link is a larger-bandwidth link that will allow us to take these sensors and put that down the data link into the battle group. And the information from those sensors can be passed throughout the battle group.
Next slide is just a road map and shows the time frame of these transitions. And I call your attention to the 2008 time frame. That will be the first combined carrier deployment of the Romeo and Sierra aircraft.
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Next slides talk about each of the individual aircraft, beginning with the HH1 November. Those aircraft are used
Mr. WELDON. If you could just highlight each of those, rather than go through them all in detail. If there are special points you want to make about any of them, you might want to do that, rather than go through each. Members all have copies of this in their charts. Go ahead.
Captain TUNIC. Yes, sir. The largest point that I will make on these without going through each of them is that most all of these, as I covered in the helicopter CONOPS plan, have a retirement date. The HH1 will be in 2012. The next slide, which is the Sea King, will be by 2009. The H46 will be retired by September of 2004. And the MH53 Echo, we are still working a plan for what the future of that is.
The whole Seahawk series, the Bravo, Foxtrot and Hotel, will retire between 2012 and 2015. The Foxtrot will see longer time in Search and Rescue (SAR) stations as a replacement for the H3. And then the last two 60-series aircraft is the Romeo and the Sierra. Those are the aircraft that are shown on the first slide that we are transitioning to.
The final slide is the Fire Scout VTUAV. We are now in the development of that. We look at that as a complimentary platform to support the sensors that are on the helicopters that are being built for the fleet.
And that concludes the statement that I have. Thank you.
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Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much.
Admiral KILCLINE. And Colonel Schwartz?
Colonel SCHWARTZ. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman.
The first slide in my packet you have in front of you is a road map slide indicating the initial operational capabilities (IOC) of our aircraft. You will notice that between time frame of 2004 and 2012, the Marine Corps brings to initial operational capability six new aircraft. Four of these aircraft are helicopters. Three of these aircraft, three of the four, are currently down at Pax River undergoing tests, the V-22, our Zulu Cobra and our Yankee Huey.
The next slide graphically depicts for you the aircraft we are transitioning from to and our new aircraft.
The third slide in the packet is the Marine Corps vision slide. Marines are not allowed to go anyplace without a vision, and this is our vision for a future expeditionary strike group that the admiral talked about a little bit earlier. Actually this picture depicts the synergy of two visions, the vision of the Marine Corps all vertical, short takeoff and landing force, and the Naval vision of sea basing.
Sea basing will significantly enhance our capabilities and the capabilities of our Naval force by providing rapid force closure, phased arrival and assembly at sea, selective offload of equipment, tailored for individual missions and reconstitution of the force.
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But to fully exploit the capabilities of sea basing is going to require an investment in the advanced aircraft technologies that you see depicted in this picture.
The V-22 is currently funded. It is down at Pax; it is testing. Some of the other aircraft that you see here are quad tilt-rotor type aircraft that would carry our heavy equipment, our heavy lift from those ships long ranges, fast speeds, to the operational areas. Other aircraft might be a fast tilt-rotor or a small fast tilt-rotor to escort those aircraft, an aircraft that has the range and speed to keep up with our transports and with our resupply aircraft.
Going rather quickly through our slides in the aircraft that we have, sir, the first series of aircraft I want to talk about are H-1s. The Marine Corps has divided our H-1s into light-attack squadrons. We currently have six active light-attack squadrons with 18 Cobras and nine Hueys in each. Each light-attack squadron has the capability to provide three detachments of six Cobras and three Hueys to our Marine expeditionary units, which then deploy. Additionally we have two reserve light helicopter squadrons (HMLs) in four detachments: in Atlanta, Georgia; Johnston, Pennsylvania; Camp Pendleton; and New Orleans.
The first aircraft, the first Huey I want to talk about is our HH1, UH1N. The aircraft, this aircraft is our battlefield command and control aircraft. You can see the statistics there in front of you. We have got seven HH1s that act as our SAR aircraft, and we have a total of 93 UH1Ns. The average age of the Hueys is 29 years.
The next slide shows the Yankee. The Yankee is our replacement for the November. We currently have two Yankees at Pax River undergoing developmental testing. The Yankees at Pax River have flown over 250 flying hours of tests with no significant problems noted. With the new rotor head, upgraded engines and transmissions and a glass cockpit, the Yankee shares 84 percent commonality with our new Cobra, the Zulu. I will talk about the Cobra in a minute.
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We plan to replace our Yankees in FY 2006. That is when we start. The Whiskey Cobra, our super Cobra, our close air support aircraft, armed escort reconnaissance aircraft, we have got 189 Whiskies at this time.
Let's talk about the Zulu. The Zulu is replacing the Whiskey. We currently have three Zulus down at Pax River undergoing tests. These aircraft have flown a total of over 500 hours thus far with no significant problems. Again, this aircraft shares 84 percent commonality with the Yankee, which is going to drastically reduce our logistics footprint and significantly enhance our ability to deploy with these aircraft. We plan to field the Zulu again in FY 2006.
The next aircraft on your slide is the VH3D. This is the presidential aircraft, the executive mission flown by HMX1. We have got 11 of these aircraft. The replacement program for them was initiated this year, and an analysis of alternatives was funded and is being developed in conjunction with the development of an operational requirements document that hopefully will be out this coming summer.
The V22 is our replacement for the CH46 and CH53D fleet. As you are aware, this program has had many ups and downs over the course of its 20 year development. Colonel Dan Schultz and his program management office down at Pax River have done an absolutely superb job of turning this program around over the course of the last two years. We currently have four MV22s in tests at Pax River and two Air Force CV22s out at Edwards Air Force base. Additionally we are about to add an additional MV test article here shortly.
These aircraft have flown a total of 287 hours of tests since returning to flight. The test is event-driven, and it is also front-loaded. And by that what I mean is that the crucial test points that identify handling qualities and flight characteristics are going to be tested up front. Those tests are going very well, and we expect to have some real good results here this coming May.
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The Marine Corps is purchasing 360 MV22s. The CV is the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) version of that aircraft undergoing tests at Pax River, at Edwards Air Force Base, and SOCOM is purchasing 50 of those aircraft.
The next aircraft is the CH46, the venerable frog. There is a saying among frog pilots that the last frog pilot has not been born yet, but I am here to tell you he has been born, but he is probably only five of six years old and aging slowly.
The primary mission of our CH46 is assault support of combat troops, support equipment and logistics and ship to shore. We currently have 14 active duty CH46 squadrons and two reserve squadrons located in Norfolk and Edwards Air Force Base. We have a total of 228 frogs in our inventory, and the average age of these aircraft is 34.2 years, which is older than most of the pilots that fly them.
The CH53D is our other medium lift work horse. This is the oldest aircraft in our inventory. It has never undergone a major service life extension program (SLEP). We currently have an inventory of 42 of these aircraft broken down into three squadrons and a fourth replacement air group, a replacement squadron that trains pilots. They are all located in Hawaii. These aircraft deploy on six-month unit rotations. The average age of these aircraft is 29 years. These aircraft will also be replaced by the MV22.
CH53 Super Stallion is our heavy lift work horse, designed for transportation of heavy equipment, supplies for the amphibious assault. Now the combat role of this aircraft was intended to be support. However, because of its tremendous capabilities, we have found ourselves more and more relying on this aircraft as a frontline combat aircraft. The Grady rescue was a good example of that. These aircraft really proved themselves in Afghanistan where they were able to go places and do things that very few helicopters in the world are capable of doing.
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We have 161 CH53s assigned to six active duty and two reserve squadrons plus a training squadron. The average age of these aircraft is 14 years. We are currently in the process of conducting an analysis of alternatives to determine what we need to do to extend the service life of this valuable asset.
The last aircraft I will cover is the VH60N, our other executive transport aircraft. We currently have an inventory of eight of these at HMX1. They are out of production, and the structural life limits we tend to reach in about 2015. We are anticipating that as we replace the VH3Ds we will follow on and replace the VH60s.
Sir, that concludes my remarks. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
And thank you all for your statements and for the effort to keep our rotorcraft fleet operational and attempt to modernize it, but obviously the numbers tell quite a revealing story of the fact that we have not put enough effort into modernization. And when you are talking about pilots flying aircraft that are far older than they are, it makes us all realize we have got to do better with our rotorcraft base, both in terms of the industrial base and also in terms of replacing these outdated aircraft that should have been replaced, in some cases, 10 or 15 years ago.
I am going to save any questions I have and let it go to other Members of the committee, so I will start with my friend Mr. Abercrombie from Hawaii.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Two principal concerns because of the kind of expenditures that we can expect if we end up, as I believe we will shortly, committing ourselves into something that I wish was being handled another way in Iraq and elsewhereand I say elsewhere as well. The Philippines, Colombia, Indonesia, all kinds of places could involve enormous expenditures, not just operational expenditures, not just deployment expenditures but requirements with respect to equipment like helicopters that are going to require numbers which I do not see, Mr. Chairman, necessarily reflected in the budget, even in what these intended purchases are.
Now, the reason I cite that to you is that I am saying this in general, is that I have been driven to be concerned about at least two aspects, this V22 and then the Comanche, as to whether or not we can receive definitive, certain assurance, certainty of assurance that we can build these planes, that we can build these craft, excuse me, and operate these craft.
Because if we cannot, then I think we have got to make a decision about what we do in terms of whether we want to continue our not. We cannot keep putting it off. But concomitant with that decision has to be, do we take and build the reliable craft that has been cited in detail and is explicated in even more detail here in terms of reliability, in terms of years? If something, after all, Mr. Chairman, is older than the pilot that is flying it, the chances are it hasproved itself then over time. I for one am not upset with the idea that we build the same thing over again. If it is brand new and has been doing the job and can do the job, but we are not devoting necessarily our funding to that.
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So the questionfor example, I drove a Checker cab for 25 years, because it was built to last 25 years. I loved that car. It was a tank. Anything that got in the way was sorry about it. It ran beautifully for 25it went out business because it was too well made. It lasted too long. The cab companies prefer to take the depreciation. They buy a fleet of trash and then run it for five years into the ground, did not service it, did not do a damn thing and then throw it away. The Checker cab was still there.
Well, the same here. There are helicopters here in all the services here that have served the mission well. So my question is, do weand nobody is going to get punished. It is not like they are going to be yelled at or something.
Do we commit our fiscal resources now into resupplying you with the craft that you have come to depend on and are assured are going to be able to do the job, at least up to the specifications they have, as opposed to continuing to pour tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars into craft which may or may not give us some marginal or even exponential capacity to improve upon what mission you already expected the craft should have?
We start with you, General, because you look most eager to answer. [Laughter.]
General BERGANTZ. Well, I would say I think the Comanche, for example, is something that I am very confident that it will succeed now because
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. But this is my 13th year
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General BERGANTZ. Right.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE [continuing]. On this committee.
General BERGANTZ. Right.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. This Comanche experiment preceded me on this committee, speaking of being older. And I have been down to see it, and the peopledo not get me wrong. The peopleI have been down there to see the Comanche and the experimental flying and all the rest of it. People there are dedicated, they are smart, they are purposeful. They wake up every day trying to get the job done. If they could will it into existence the way they want it to be, it would have already happened. But this is my 13th year.
General BERGANTZ. Well, what I would say about that is that we did not fund the Comanche. I mean, I used to be the Comanche program manager, and we just did not fund the Comanche to the levels it really needed to be. And we were trying to doevery time that it was restructured or in the past, we took money out to do one thing or another.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You are making my point. I will not dwell on it, and maybe some of these answers will have to come later, because I do not want to take everybody's time. But you are making my point. Maybe it takes too much funding, and maybe other things are going to be short-changed as a result.
My question really is, General, in your most honest opinionbecause believe me, I know Chairman Weldon, he is looking for an honest opinion and he does not hold it against anybody who gives him one, believe meshould we take what resources we have, particularly under the strain that we are going to have with deployments and all the other things that you will be required to shoulder, should we be putting that into building those models which we know work for the purposes that they serve so far, as opposed to continuing the make the 29-year-old plane 32 years old?
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General BERGANTZ. Well, I think when II would honestly say that I think what we are doing with the 29-year-old plane and making it 32 by recapping it, or remanufacturing it I guess is what you are saying, is
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes, you are remanufacturing or just build new ones.
General BERGANTZ. Right. If we are faced with that, we can do for about two-thirds the cost of what it costs to do the new ones. And then with the money we are saving we can push that further and buy more of the remanufactured ones which is what we need.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay.
General BERGANTZ. The remanufactured ones in my mind are perfectly Okay. I mean we are taking them down structure wise on the air frame. We are tearing them all down to the formers, for example, on the CH47, so we are treating all the corrosion, taking care of all that.
And I think when we put it all back together that we have gone in and we have looked at the 32 or I think 33 major cost drivers on that particular aircraft that have been not reliable and we are redesigning those. So when we put this thing all back together, it is going to be a much more reliable aircraft and it will be like a new-built aircraft. I cannot turn the clock back to zero and make ityou know, zero time it.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. And what are we looking at with the Comanche? When are we going to be ready to come to Mr. Weldon and say, we are ready to go?
General BERGANTZ. I am ready to do that right now, sir. We are ready to go. I mean, it is
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. For sure?
General BERGANTZ. For sure.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay, what about the V22?
Admiral KILCLINE. Sir, the Marine Corps is very much interested in the revolutionary capabilities that the V22 provides. We have taken advantage
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Excuse me. General Gray told me that
Admiral KILCLINE. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE [continuing]. The first day that I was here. And the reason I have supported it all this time is I came in as a rookie congressman and General Gray came in to see me, which I took as a great honor because he was just about ready to retire as commandant and he took the time to come out. And he walked into my office and told me, ''The reason I would like you to support this is I believe it will save lives of Marines, and it will enable us to do our mission better all the way around,'' and so I said that is a good reason.
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Now, but that was 13 years ago.
Admiral KILCLINE. Yes, sir. The fact that the aircraft very nearly entered the fleet had the mishaps which triggered the technical review, the scientific review of the program. We have engaged all these experts, both with our industry partners and from NASA and from our sisters services. We have created a test program which we are confident fully explores every possible investigation into this aircraft.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So much, though, that you want to keep investing money there rather than taking that money and investing it in craft that have already served and are serving the Marines well now?
Admiral KILCLINE. Sir, the capability that the V22 provides are so much superior to what we have with the CH46. What we are testing now has to do both with the aerodynamic capability of the aircraft and the reliability and maintainability. We have
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay, I am abusing my time, but are you also engaged in the remanufacture aspect that the Army is involved in with existing craft?
Admiral KILCLINE. We are with the H1s, yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So what is the effect of time? Instead of 29 years old when you remanufacture them, what does that make them theoretically?
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Admiral KILCLINE. We are going to
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Nine years old, eight?
Admiral KILCLINE. We are going to zero time the air frames and the H1 is going to be remanufactured.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. How about for the Army?
General BERGANTZ. Yes, sir, what we are doing is giving them another 20-year new lease on life basically.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And my role here is to look out for Guard and Reserve units. It is a big part of what I feel is an important role because of the operational tempo and utilization of our Guard and Reserve forces. But the active duty components start to cascade down to the Guard and Reserve, whether it is UH60s, CH47s or the age 64, and they will not need to modernize the new ones, they will be the non-modernized ones.
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My concern is that we have now given our Guard and Reserve forces aircraft that are nearly or soon to be legacy aircraft. And my question to General Bergantz would be, are the funds projected in the Army budget, future budget I would say, to upgrade these aircraft to the latest series?
General BERGANTZ. I am going to let my colleague here help me on that one.
Colonel BENDYK. Sir, as we transition the Army and go to the National Guard, we have not decided exactly
Mr. WELDON. Could you introduce yourself, please, for the record?
Colonel BENDYK. I am Colonel John Bendyk, Chief of Aviation Division within the G8 procurement.
The transition for the National Guard force structure has not been determined yet. Right now we share CH47s are the same age between both the active and the Reserve components. We have a total of 139 AH64 Alphas, four AH64 Deltas in the National Guard. The end state is going to be for 203 AH64 Alphas and 63 AH64 Deltas.
Of the Alpha fleet that is there, we are doing an A to A recap. We are modernizing. We are recapping the aircraft, bringing down its age, but we are not modernizing any of the systems on board.
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As far as the CH47 fleet, eventually we will get them all to CH47 Fs just like the active component. In regards to UH60, sir, currently we have 165 L models in the National Guard, 687 total UH60s there. They do have the HH60s, the newest MEDEVAC aircraft.
One of the considerations, and when we field the Guard force, is we look at the tempo of operations (OPTEMPO) between the Guard force and the regular force, and we look at how much we have spent per hour. It is cheaper for us to put the modernized aircraft, the new airframes into the active component because we almost double their flight time.
Mr. GIBBONS. So what you are saying is the Guard can maintain old, difficult-to-maintain aircraft better than the active-duty components can?
Colonel BENDYK. No, sir, they do not fly as much, and therefore it is cheaper to do it that way.
Mr. GIBBONS. Well, it would seem to me the cost per hour should be about the same.
Colonel BENDYK. Sir, the sea-ac rates do come out to the same, but the actual cost never meet those rates.
Mr. GIBBONS. However you look at it, I will accept your term.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me talk about the Guard RAID mission. You know, that is the reconnaissance air interdiction detachment. And these are flown with OH58 aircraft.
There is a very real military and civilian program that these are involved in, I should say. Their mission profiles, drug interdictions, especially in homeland security.
I guess my question is, would it not behoove the United States Army to urge Congress, considering the counter-drug operation, considering the homeland security operations, to appropriate funding in a sufficient quantity for replacement of these aircraft because the OH58s arethey are on their last leg.
Colonel BENDYK. Yes, sir. When the Army decided to transition, one of the things the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army did was sent to Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) the fact that we do plan on retiring all the legacy aircraft, our UH1s, AH1s, OH58s as well. The goal was to retire all the UH1s by the end of 2004 and all OH58s by the end of 2005.
We do have certain aircraft that we cannot retire. We have aircraft within the test community that we need to buy replacement aircraft for. We have aircraft that are combat training centers for operations & Control (O&C) duties that we need to fly for and
Mr. GIBBONS. Well, let me ask this brief question. Are you considering a commercial off-the-shelf replacement for the OH58, as a cheaper, less expensive version replacement?
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Colonel BENDYK. Sir, we are looking at a cheaper version to bring to the Aberdeen Test Center (ATC's) and Army's Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) by the year 2008, yes, sir.
Mr. GIBBONS. 2008.
Colonel BENDYK. Yes, sir.
Mr. GIBBONS. Let me ask one just final question, if I may, Mr. Chairman, and it has to deal with the CH47D fleet, because you are modernizing all of the Ds going to Fsnot all of them, excuse me. You do not take into consideration modernization of the special operations 47s, do you?
Colonel BENDYK. Yes, we do sir.
Mr. GIBBONS. You do? So those are going to be modernized.
Colonel BENDYK. Yes, sir.
Mr. GIBBONS. Are you reconfiguring all of the D models to F models?
Colonel BENDYK. No, sir.
Mr. GIBBONS. Why? You can exclude special operations ones.
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General BERGANTZ. Yes, just on the conventional force, I believe it is about 150, roughly, that were not being done, and it was because it was, we just did not have the funding to do it. So we did what we could.
Mr. GIBBONS. Well, will these eventually be done?
General BERGANTZ. Hopefully in the future we can do them. We would probably be at the tail end of the program we have now.
Mr. GIBBONS. So in the FYDP, future year defense planning
General BERGANTZ. It would be beyond, it would beyond
Mr. GIBBONS. Beyond the FYDP.
General BERGANTZ. Yes, sir.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman.
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Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Bergantz, you make in your statement, and I do not know whether it was Dr. Killion who made the statement, but you mentioned in your written testimony that we have reduced readiness primarily due to the unavailability of parts.
Now, I know that we have had several joint ventures between different companies and we have partnered with some of them.
General BERGANTZ. Right.
Mr. ORTIZ. But we still have a short supply of parts. What do you see as to the future of this arrangement?
General BERGANTZ. Well, I see this in the last two years starting to turn the corner, sir. It is getting better, I think. Last year we asked for nearly $900 million, I believe to buy spare parts and we did not get that much, but we got a good slug of it. And then this year, I think we asked for nearly another billion dollars to buy spare parts. And this year we have almost received full funding on that.
So the contracts are being let through Army Materiel Command (AMC) and through the depots and so forth to buy these spare parts that we need. But we will not get well right away because those contracts have lead times and it takes a while to get those parts.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You mentioned the partnering arrangements. We already have negotiated and signed partnering arrangements with General Electric (GE), for the engines, with Boeing and with Sikorsky. I have my program office right now looking at a similar arrangement as the GE one with the Honeywell folks to see whether we could bring Chinook engines in there to do the same kind of thing.
I think if we do that through the partnering arrangements we would be able to speed up the turn-around times on these overhauls and improve the situation.
Mr. ORTIZ. And of course you know the story of the Apache. Who were the one that were able to fix it when they were grounded? I think that we are getting ready to go to war. What kind of backlog of maintenance work do you have on those helicopters that we might need?
General BERGANTZ. All the helicopters that we have deployed are in very good shape. We pulled most of the phases and so forth before they went. We have extra aircraft in theater, in case we have to pull a phase or do unscheduled maintenance in theater. I think we are in pretty good shape, sir, in that respect.
Mr. ORTIZ. One of the things that we talked about this morning at another hearing was that during the Persian Gulf war, there was one contractor to 40 military personnel. Now we understand it is one to 10. And if we go to war, my concern is, as you well know, that in Colombia, we are assisting the Colombian army. There were three civilians who were taken hostage. What do you anticipateand maybe you cannot answer this questionhow many contract workers will be on the war zone?
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General BERGANTZ. I do not know how many, sir, but I know that there is a fairly good amount of them there. But I also know that they have, that the mobilization stations before they went, they received training. They were taught how to use their gas masks and all that kind of stuff. They were given the same equipment that the soldiers had. And they have also been given force protection by the units that are over there.
So I think we are taking the prudent measures that the best as we can to take care of those people.
Mr. ORTIZ. One of the things that was very disturbing, Mr. Chairman, was that their alliance is not to the commander on the field. Their alliance is to the contractor who hired them. Before they decide to go on strike, what happens then?
General BERGANTZ. Well, that is a difficult question.
Mr. ORTIZ. It could happen.
General BERGANTZ. It could happen, but most of these people have gone over there willingly, have volunteered to go, and some of them even I think have a reserve component status. So that would be another angle that could look at in the future, would be to try to take contractors who were in the reserves and activate them and have them go over in that role.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman, and without objection.
The gentleman, Dr. Gingrey from Georgia.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Bergantz, I want to direct this question really to you, because of some of your remarks in your statement. The chairman initially spoke of his concern about the age of the various rotorcraft and described some of it as being sort of long in the tooth, I think is the way he put it, and also his concern about the lack of funding for Research and Development (R&D).
Now you mentioned to us the accident loss rate of the various rotorcraft planes, and I think you said there were 73 Blackhawk losses over the last how many years was it, General?
General BERGANTZ. That was since 1985 I believe.
Dr. GINGREY. Since 1985. But of course what we kind of see anecdotally as the general public and as a Member, just within the last three weeks, we have lost about 15 men and women in training mission crashes of Blackhawks. And as you said in your testimony, as some of the critical issues affecting all Army aviation today, you mentioned obsolescence, you mentioned contractor rates increases, contractor competition, mergers and acquisitions, reduced production rates on the ability of our manufacturers to maintain a fully staffed and trained workforce. You talk about readiness rates are primarily due to unavailability of spares and repair parts.
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I mean, I am just wondering what the reality is of the air worthiness of some of these rotorcraft vehicles and particularly the Blackhawk. Could you address that for us, please?
General BERGANTZ. Yes, sir. No, the Blackhawk is absolutely air worthy. It is a very good aircraft, and Sikorsky builds a terrific aircraft really. I mean, it is a work horse. It actually flies probably about 40, 50 percent of the flight hours in the whole Army fleet. So it is really doing a yeoman's job out there.
In terms of air worthiness, like I said, when we take the Blackhawk in an A model or an L model and we remanufacture it into an M model, we are doing a lot of selective upgrade work to it as well as taking it down to the formers and stringers and all that sort of thing and treating corrosion and that like.
We are also looking at all thelike I said, a myriad of different components on there that have been bad actors, so to speak, and that have given us problems in the past and have continually had to be removed and replaced. So we are going to take those out. We are taking them out right now, redesigning them and putting a newly redesigned one in.
I would say that once we remanufacture each of these aircraft, Apachesand we are seeing it on the Apache. I mean, we are 284 aircraft through the 501 aircraft right now on the Apache line, and the D model is showing much better readiness rates than the A model.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Similarly the L model Blackhawk was showing better readiness rates than the A model. Ao when we brought these aircraft back and done things to them, put a new engine on and that kind of thing, on the Blackhawk we are going to put a new 701B engine. I think these kinds of things are going to make its air worthiness even better.
I quoted you statistics on class A accidents for FY02 for all the difference aircraft. I have got them all the way back to 1998. On the Blackhawk in 1998 it was 2.43. In 1995 it went down to or 1999 it went down to .95. In 2000 it went down to .41, back up to .84 in 2001 and back up to 1.6 in 2002. So all these aircraft are the same. There is no real trend there. They kind of bounce around.
Some of what we are seeing right now also is the combat losses. We lost a couple Blackhawks. We lost one down in Colombia, the Colombians were flying down there. They had 22 people on that aircraft when it went down. It was not designed to carry 22 people.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, General.
I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Louisiana Mr. Alexander is recognized. No questions?
The gentlemen from South Carolina is recognized.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SPRATT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, General Bergantz, I was in Kuwait in November and I saw the capability of the Predator and the UAVs, and I was really encouraged, because when I went back three weeks ago and met with personnel from the third infantry division, it made me feel good to know that we had UAVs as a means of reconnaissance and surveillance for them. And it just really gave me a really good feeling for them.
And I was delighted to see that there is the Hunter and the Shadow. Are these deployed now and what is the status of them?
General BERGANTZ. Yes, sir. The Hunter systems arewe have three of those systems deployed right now. One is going into Fifth Corps and one islet's see, one is in Fort Polk and one is at Fort Hood. A system consists of six air vehicles and three ground control stations per system. So those are deployed in those areas right now.
The tactical UAV, the newer one that we are buying, the smaller air vehicle, we have four of those systems deployed right now, two at Fort Lewis, working with the striker brigade combat teams (SBCTs) up there, one at the school house at Fort Wachuka, training the people how to fly, and then one down at Fort Hood.
Mr. SPRATT. And what about rotorcraft? Are those still in the developmental stage or is that
General BERGANTZ. They are still in the developmental phase. We have two programs that we are jointly working with DARPA, the A160 Hummingbird and the UCAR, the unmanned combat armed rotorcraft. Both those programs will run probably another five or six years each until we get them up to a technology level where we can transition into the normal acquisition system.
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Mr. SPRATT. I just found those extraordinarily intriguing but more as safeguards for our troops and it made me feel very, very good as to what they may be facing in the future.
I would also like to comment to back up Congressman Gibbons of Nevada, and that is that I have an interest in the National Guard and Reserve units and we have a keen desire that they have the latest equipment. I know that from my experience working with the Air National Guard in South Carolina, that with the latest equipment that the Guard has performed so well and in fact was deployed two weeks ago. So I have a real interest in that, and I appreciate all that you all can do to upgrade the Guard and Reserve.
And I have no further questions. I yield the balance of my time.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman.
General, and for the rest of the panel, maybe my observation is incorrect, but it seems to me as we look at the various platforms we have in the military and perhaps it is because of the amount of troops carried and the kind of missions they are undertaken with rotorcraft, but it seems like, if you add it all up, probably the greatest loss of life in casualties we have comes from accidents involving rotorcraft.
Would that be a correct assessment, compared to fighter aircraft and ships and so forth?
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General BERGANTZ. I would say that is probably true. I think a lot of it has to do with the environment they operate in, down in nap of the earth, in the trees and at night, bad weather, and many accidents are weather-related.
Many of the accidents we have experienced most recently have been because when the aircraft landed in a desert kind of environment, you had the blowing dust and so forth, and they lost visual contact with the ground and then they broke a landing gear or that kind of thing.
Mr. WELDON. But, General, isn't that a reason why we should be spending perhaps more money on cutting-edge research, because of the kinds of conditions that these aircraft are being asked to perform in?
And along that line, let me ask first of all, from the standpoint of the military and this would include DARPA, how much R&D money do we spend that is not specifically tied to a program? How much basic rotorcraft R&D money do we spend each year?
Mr. KILLION. It is a growing amount at the moment. This year it is on the order of just short of about $100 million if you add up
Mr. WELDON. Not tied to a program now.
Mr. KILLION. Right, on basic research, applied research and then advanced technology development. Depends on whether you consider a program like the unmanned rotorcraft vehicles with DARPA as a specific program orI consider part of the research program.
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So if you look at that, that is just about $100 million in the coming year. It grows to well over $150 million over the course of the President's budget. So we are increasing our investment in rotorcraft technology, specifically in the area of UAVs.
Mr. WELDON. Should we be spending more money in rotorcraft R&D, or is that about right?
Mr. KILLION. We are spending I think aswe have to balance across all the investment areas that the Army is challenged with. Of course we have the future combat system, our new systems, our new ground forces as well as the soldier, medical issues, everything else.
So I believe our investment in rotorcraft is a sound one. The basic and applied research really apply to both the unmanned air vehicles and the manned systems. We have really increased in the event technology development area our work.
Mr. WELDON. The reason why I asked the question is, as we talked about that, perhaps the largest casualties we have is because of the accidents or the shooting down or the other incidents involving rotorcraft. I would think that should be a very large part of our research budget.
NASA, I am also a senior member of the Science Committee. We had a hearing last week with NASA Ames. They requested zero dollars for rotorcraft research in fiscal year 2003 and zero dollars for fiscal year 2004, although they are trying to take credit for some matching funds for the Army.
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Is that about the right level for NASA to be spending? I am going to ask the industry groups. Is that the right amount for this technology and for this risk that we are placing our soldiers and corpsmen into?
Mr. KILLION. Well, Ithe good news is that we have recently just signed a update to our joint agreement with DARPAor with NASA, our joint partnership that we have had traditionally for years since the 1960s. And the Army is about to sign General Kern, the commander of Army Materiel Command, will be signing on the Army side on that agreement.
We are working out the details of what the level of co-investment. We would certainly like to see NASA invest at levels that allow them to provide the expertise and the infrastructure that they traditionally supply to that partnership to make sure that there is a healthy technology base for rotorcraft, that includes Army needs as well as more civilian applications.
Mr. WELDON. But do you think zero dollars is the proper request?
Mr. KILLION. No, I do not believe zero dollars is the proper request, sir.
Mr. WELDON. Well, I guess what bothers me isand we all have to make tough decisions. That is what we are here for. But if you look at where we suffer the most casualties in the most difficult circumstances, it is with the people that we asked to serve on our rotorcraft platforms.
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Doesn't it seem logical then that that is where we should put the bulk of the investment dollar to help reduce those incidents, to help improve our maintenance rates, to help increase the efficiency of the aircraft?
To me that is where the largest loss of life and the largest casualties are coming from, partly because of what we are asking them to do. That is where the money should be going.
Mr. KILLION. And it does represent a healthy portion of our S&T investment overall, I must say, because we have invested over the years and continue to invest in issues like the sensors that you would need to avoid those kinds of incidents where you are operating close to the ground in nap of the earth flight and in landing. Improved rotor blades, improved structures for the vehicles to protect againstto increase crash worthiness for example or air crew survivability in the case of some kind of incident.
So I believe we are making the right kind of investment in our rotorcraft fleet, from an S&T perspective.
Mr. WELDON. I am going to ask that same question of our industrial leaders so I would ask you to be prepared to respond.
Let me ask a question about the V22, since it has been ratherized on a regular basis by certain individuals who do not want to look at the facts.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Is it safe to say that there are no technology problems, that they were just engineering challenges, the two incidents we had, one involved I believe a software glitch and the other the training necessary for dealing with the vortex ring state? Is that correct?
Mr. LAUX. Yes, sir. It is not a question of technology. It is a question of presenting the aircraft status to the pilot in such a way that he can properly fly the aircraft. We have been getting a lot better information to the pilots. We have been redesigning the man machine interface.
All the testing we have going on at Pax River has borne out that these changes have, in fact, been providing the needed capabilities. And we look forward to continuing the testing, continuing the exploration, answering all these questions and moving ahead with the program.
Mr. WELDON. The current grounding of the four aircraft was due to a subcontractor problem, a quality control problem which was caught and that is the good news. It was caught before it affected any aircraft. Would you explain that just for the record so we have it in the record?
Mr. LAUX. I would be happy to, Mr. Chairman. We found during a manufacturing test at the Boeing Philadelphia site, a leak was found when they were doing the initial fuselage manufacture. In running down the circumstances with that small indication, we went back to the manufacturer of the hydraulic tubing. Did not satisfy ourselves that that sub-tier vendor had in fact the consistent quality control that we demand on the program.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We went back and looked at the flying aircraft, and even though we had absolutely no indications that the tubing was below standards, we determined that the prudent thing to do was to replace those tubes on those aircraft. We are in the middle of doing that right now. We have alternate suppliers already delivered the goods and we will be flying again in about another 10 days.
Mr. WELDON. Did we fire that supplier that was giving us faulty product?
Mr. LAUX. Yes, sir. We have got alternate suppliers. The Boeing and Bell companies found readily available manufacturers of good-quality material, and we have had no issues whatsoever in installing the new known-to-be-good-quality tubing.
Mr. WELDON. Well, I applaud you for that and I applaud the contractors and the Corps for that, because we cannot afford to have a quality control problem with any component in these aircraft. Because as you know, we are at a point in time where another incident, heaven forbid it would ever happen, would perceptually cause major problems for the program.
And these subcontract manufacturers have got to know that they are going to be held to the highest possible standard, and let the word go out from this hearing. If they cannot do that, they better get out of the program, because we cannot afford new problems.
So I applaud you all for catching that glitch and getting it resolved and for firing the contractor, and I appreciate that quality control.
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With that, we want to thank you all. We might have some questions for the record. We would ask you to respond to those. Thank you for the great job you are doing. I appreciate it.
General Bergantz, as you know, I want to work with you on some initial focus on rotorcraft and look forward to talking to you about that, but thank you for your leadership as well.
And, Admiral, the same, and both of you for coming in and for your excellent testimony as well as the others who testified.
With that, you are all excused, and we will welcome our second panel to the podium.
If we could now have Rhett Flater, John Murphey, Roger Krone and Dean Borgman come forward, we will begin the second panel.
Gentlemen, we welcome you all here. We apologize for the late hour. We just want to prove to you that it is not just the private sector that works late hours. We do here as well. Thank you all for being here.
Your statements will be entered into the record so we would ask you to make whatever comments you would like to make and then leave time for us for some questions. So we will start with Rhett Flater from the American Helicopter Society.
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Rhett, it is good to have you here.
STATEMENT OF MR. M.E. RHETT FLATER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICAN HELICOPTER SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL
Mr. FLATER. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much, and Mr. Abercrombie, we also thank you and the other Members of the subcommittee for being with us here at this late hour. I provided written testimony and you have already indicated that it will be included in the record, so I will just speak to a few high points I think and take maybe five minutes of your time.
Our industry is relatively modest in size but we fulfill and address critical national needs. Helicopters perform public service operations such as emergency medical service, search and rescue, law enforcement, fire fighting, resource development and priority transportation. And more important, the rotorcraft industrial base supports national and homeland security needs for improved mobility and these are needs that cannot be fulfilled by any other mode of transportation. We are a subset of the U.S. industrial base. The combined revenues of the major air frame manufacturers, Bell, Boeing and Sikorsky seated next to me or their CEOs, have ranged from about $5 billion to $6.6 billion during the past five years.
Their employment levels have fluctuated from 27,200 to the current 24,000. Boeing sales are entirely military related. Sikorsky manufactures products for both the military, primarily the military, but also civil markets. Bell Helicopter sales have historically been spread 50-50 between military and civil. Now this U.S. industry also incorporates a large subsistence supply base and this spans critical fields such as propulsion, avionics, communications to armaments. Many of the members of the audience sitting behind me are representatives of this supply base who show a great interest in these proceedings, Mr. Chairman.
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Foreign military sales by the major U.S. air framers comprise about a third of their total worldwide sales. In fact foreign sales have been essential throughout the decade of the 1990s. They have maintained warm production lines at Bell, Boeing and Sikorsky. According to aerospace industries association, helicopter exports in 2000 were about $764 million. Our industry's net contribution to the current account trade balance was about $275 million. Now Mr. Borgman and Mr. Murphey and Mr. Krone will speak to the specific programs, but I would simply observe that for the U.S. rotorcraft industry, there have been no new starts within the last 12 years.
The industry has largely survived and to some extent prospered based on remanufacturing aging airframes. I am a former Marine pilot. I served in Vietnam in 1967-1968. I flew CH46s in combat. Those same CH46s, those same serial numbers are flying today 36 years later. And so Mr. Abercrombie, these are Checker cabs. They are a pretty reliable machine. They are really great. The same goes true for the Blackhawk and for the CH53 and the UH60 and so forth, but these aircraft have long, long, long lives.
Turning to Europe, I would like to observe that European technology in areas such as blade design, composites and bearingless made rotors, transmission design sensors and hums is just as advanced as U.S. technology. In some cases, as in noise, it probably surpasses that of the U.S. manufacturers.
The major European manufacturers Agusta Westland and Eurocopter are aggressive in pursing international orders. Recently, they have introduced several new products, competitive with U.S. rotorcraft. These include the EH101, manufactured by Agusta Westland, the MH90, made by a four European nation consortia, including Eurocopter and Agusta Westland, and the Tiger Attack helicopter, manufactured by Eurocopter.
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These military products are racking up sales across Europe and increasingly winning international competitions such as the Nordic Medium Lift and the Australian Tac competitions.
The military rotorcraft market is global in nature, and to sell products abroad, aerospace companies have to offer really significant economic offsets to the purchasing government. So U.S. primes are teaming with European and other local companies. An example is Boeing's partnership with G.K. and Westland, now Agusta Westland, on the WH64D long-bow Apache for the British Army.
In the same manner, European primes are teaming with major U.S. defense firms to meet future DOD needs. One example is Agusta Westland has joined with Lockheed Martin to offer an Americanized version of EH101, known as the US101.
Now compared to the U.S., European host governments consistently and heavily subsidize rotorcraft research and development. European government test facilities are modern to state-of-the-art, compared to those here in the United States. Examples include the DNW Netherlands and Germany wind tunnel and Italy's new crash test facility and its new icing wind tunnel. These are both located in Padua, Italy.
Now, basic rotorcraft research, Mr. Chairman, is in decline in the United States. Appendix III to my testimony is the society's best estimate of the state of Department of Defense rotorcraft science and technology and NASA research and technology programs for the period 1994 through 2003 with projections for the years 2004 through 2007.
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Now, I am going to save you from having to dig through that spread sheet. I am going to show you this chart. But as this chart illustrates, during the period from 2001 through 2003, rotorcraft research performed by the Department of Defense and NASA has declined from $113 million to $56.3 million, mostly because of NASA's failure to fund rotorcraft research.
Now, one result is the fact that long-term cooperative efforts between NASA and the Department of Defense and rotorcraft research, especially the 1969 Army-NASA joint agreement, have been underlined by NASA's failure to fund rotorcraft research in fiscal years 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Now as you are aware from the previous testimony and previous panel, several weeks ago the NASA leadership offered to restore $50 million in fiscal year 2003 funds to support Army-NASA joint research conditioned on the Army funding a similar amount. This is a step in the right direction, but with full costing, it represents about 25 percent of the research investment previously made by NASA.
There are some findings by the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry that I think are especially relevant to this industry.
For example, there is a major workforce crisis in the aerospace industry. Our Nation has lost about 600,000 scientific and technical aerospace jobs in the past 13 years. What remains, and this is reflected in the membership of my society, is an aging work force which will largely retire in the next five to 10 or 15 years.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The industrial base is in decline, as mergers and consolidations reduce the number of primes, as well as the supplier base.
Aerospace is a technology-driven industry. It is pretty dependent on defense research, development and manufacturing. But for the last 13 years or so, we have seen aerospace procurement by the military fall 53 percent. The Department of Defense also reduced its investment in research development, development, testing and evaluation by 20 percent from 1987 to 1999.
Third point, maintaining a world-class national aerospace research development, testing and evaluation infrastructure is really important to ensure that this country's research programs can be performed successfully. Yet much of this infrastructure is now today 40 to 50 years old and it is marginally maintained.
And as I previously indicated, Europe's infrastructure is state of the art. By comparison, NASA has suspended all operations of the 40-by-80 wind tunnel located at NASA Ames. They have also threatened to close it permanently and they have also announced the imminent closure of this country's only crash safety test facility located at NASA Langley. And what this means basically is that crash safety tests that are now planned for the Comanche and for the joint strike fighter in 2005, they are either not going to be performed at all or they are going to have to be performed over in Italy. That is the choices we have.
Now, examples of possible areas of NASA DOD research which I guess our society believes should be funded include a couple of the following. First, we think we need to investigate and research concepts for innovative new configurations which can radically improve rotorcraft speed, affordability and mission effectiveness.
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And that, I think, is the answer to Mr. Abercrombie's question. It is why we need new technology. We need to exploit the capabilities of the future. We need to improve range, speed, payload, reduce costs. Those kinds of things are vital.
Information computing technologies can result in safer, more affordable and environmentally friendly helicopters and more effective and survivable military systems. Active and adaptive controls is another issue. Noise-reducing design methods. We can reduce noise by 75 percent. Design tools. We do not have the design tools that the fixed wing industry have. This could reduce development time by 50 percent.
So these are areas where we think some research ought to be done.
NASA research and Army research is pretty highly leveraged. They basically match each others investment. Under the national rotorcraft technology center (NRTC), that investment is again matched by industry, providing 4-to-1 leveraging for both NASA and the Department of Defense. So NRTC is there. It is another wonderful vehicle.
And companies such as Bell and Boeing and Sikorsky and their team members and their supporting suppliers, they are pretty innovative companies. They have responsive and can-do senior managers and proven and experienced management teams which I think partner well with our customer. And when they are called upon, as they will be shortly, they are capable of responding with alacrity to national security and civil market needs.
So in conclusion, I just have three short recommendations.
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One, I think the Department of Defense and NASA should be directed to make further investments in basic 61, 62 and 63 research.
And to answer your question, Mr. Weldon, for 2003, Army DOD 61, 63 research is $56.62 million. I personally believe that is inadequate, especially in light of the fact that a significant portion of that money is now funding unmanned research, which is very important, but it is crowding out investments in manned helicopter research. We need to do both. We need a more holistic approach.
And I am not talking about evolutionary improvements in the Apache or the Blackhawk and those kinds of things. I am talking about revolutionary efforts to refine and simplify the rotor system and the control systems and the drive train.
Second, I would say given the importance of transforming our military forces here to 21st-century capabilities, to make them more mobile and more agile, we should be funding, I think, private industry to design, develop and fly a series of innovative vertical takeoff and landing prototype aircraft.
We have got a new requirement coming out that is just burgeoning to the surface with the evolution of the Army to a future objective force. It is called the heavy-lift replacement helicopter. We need new technologies to insert into that platform, and we can do it, doubling speed, range, payload, reducing costs by half.
And finally I think this committee should heed the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry. Rapid passage of the recently reintroduced Aeronautics Revitalization Act of 2004, we think this will be a really good first step in addressing these national concerns.
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Mr. Chairman and Mr. Abercrombie, I thank you very much for your attention, and I look forward to answering any questions that you may have, gentlemen.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Flater can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much, Mr. Flater.
STATEMENT OF JOHN R. MURPHEY, CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON
Mr. MURPHEY. Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Abercrombie. I will make my comments brief. You have copies of my written testimony in front of you.
I do represent Bell Helicopter, and I am pleased to be here. We have a rich history of serving our nation, both in the military and civil sectors.
We are one of the industry leaders in rotorcraft technology. We pioneered the rotor technology beginning with the XP3 in 1950 to the XP15 in 1970s. Both of those programs were the result of the joint Navy, Army, NASA funding, and the result today is the V22 rotorcraft that will go into service with the Marine Corps and special operations forces. It is also the result of our commercial 609 that will soon enter service in the commercial sector as the first commercial tilt rotor. It is also the parents of the UAV tilt rotor that will go into service with the Coast Guard.
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So part of that rich heritage is the funding in the past of science and technology that led to the kind of capabilities we have today. I am proud of our company and our ability to share in these nation needs.
Mr. Chairman, I do believe that the rotorcraft industry is at a crossroad and that decisions made by Congress in the near term will determine whether the United States maintains its leadership in military and civilian rotorcraft in both of these important markets or whether or not these markets are dominated by foreign companies.
At a time when our Nation depends on the kinds of products that we manufacture, not only for the wars that may be outside of our borders, but also the wars that may be inside our borders with terrorism, we need to make sure that in areas of border patrol, anti-terrorism, emergency operations and disaster relief, that we have the kinds of rotorcraft that serve those kinds of markets. We need to be flexible. We need to make sure that we have kind of the leap-ahead technology that we need.
We need government investment in this technology for us to maintain this kind of leadership. It is very strong on the fixed-wing side of aviation business but it is very deficient on the rotorcraft side.
Economic times, I do not need to tell you, they are turbulent. And the helicopter industry has been not spared, just as the rest of the aviation industry has not been spared by the events of the economy and September 11th. The top-line economic numbers are only a part of what has happened in the capital market side. Big capital expenditures are not being made by our customers, and it is a serious investment risk for our people.
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We need a partnership with the government to make sure that technology and the future of this industry remains bright. It is one of the most attractive sectors in the aviation market for the next 10 years, because these are the kinds of products that our Nation is going to need both for military and commercial operations. We need to transform the way we do business as a Nation. Transformation is not limited to the military, but it ought to be a part of how we approach investment in both commercial and civil aviation.
The requirements for our mission expansion continues, and we need those requirements in rotorcraft, science and technology and R&D to keep pace. They have been out of sync. If you look at programs like the V22 and Comanche that have been in the development cycle for more than 20 years, they are stretched out beyond belief, increasing the cost both for development and increasing the risk of not getting new technology in the hands of our war fighters soon enough. Once programs are started, the funding for those programs is often inadequate. Production rates are low. Quantities are reduced and cost is high as a result of that. That is not a pattern that speaks well for our industry or speaks well for how we serve our industry.
The R&D demand that this industry is needed is not being met. NASA has a charter to fund science and technology for rotorcraft. It is not meeting that responsibility.
Comparison, the French government funds 100 percent of rotorcraft R&D. We are not asking for that kind of participation from our government, but we are asking for adequate funding to keep our technology strong.
In today's marketplace, if you look at the aircraft that are going in to the homeland security assets for this Nation, the border patrol, the sheriff's departments, the Coast Guard, in today's market, more than 50 percent of those aircraft are coming from the French. Aircraft designed and built in France by companies that are partially owned by the French government and funded by the French government for development.
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I do not think we as a Nation want to find ourselves in the role of having our national borders and our internal borders protected by aircraft that come from Europe. And the disadvantage that we have as a supplier is those markets, particularly in France, are closed to us. It is unconceivable that the French would ever buy a product from the U.S. forhelicopter product from the U.S. for their national defense and activities.
The V22, the Bell Eagle Eye, the 609 are great examples of what can be done with adequate funding and with the technology infusion that the NASA could bring. We need help from the government, as I said before, and I think the challenge is there that we can all make sure that we live up to those responsibilities.
Everyone on this industry panel is working very hard within our companies to lean our operations, to reduce cost, do everything that we can to make our products affordable for our government customers and those of us who have commercial customers the same. But we are hard pressed to do that without help in the basic science and technology funding that we need.
I think there is an opportunity here for a new initiative. Mr. Chairman, I would believe that this really should be a national priority. Our development staffs of engineers, scientists and technicians need to have the capability to be refreshed.
We could very well find ourselves with the long development programs in face of competition from European companies that are coming into these marketsand they will be here; they are looking for U.S. partners and they will find themthat we could become subcontractors building aircraft for our military and civil marketplaces that were being designed, developed and built first in Europe and then assembled into the United States.
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I think it is time that we have a national center of excellence, that we have a joint effort by the military services, by our universities, by NASA and industry to have adequate funding for science and technology for rotorcraft. Mr. Chairman, I would suggest that $100 million a year for the next five years would only begin to build the kind of capability and the national asset that we need.
Thank you very much for your attention.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Murphey can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. I thank you, Mr. Murphey, for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF ROGER A. KRONE, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ARMY SYSTEMS, THE BOEING COMPANY
Mr. KRONE. Thank you Mr. Chairman, Representative Abercrombie, members of the committee. I am Roger Krone, senior vice president of Army systems for Boeing. Before I enter into the record a few short comments, I would like to draw your attention to this morning's ''Washington Post.'' The feature picture on the ''Post,'' if I can read it from the title, is called the ''battles of Britain'' and shown in the picture is a Boeing-built CH47 mark II A which we delivered to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) of the United Kingdom around 1990. What is interestingthere are two interesting things in this picture.
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First of all, the Chinook, Mr. Abercrombie, was fist designed in the 1960s and has been in continuous service ever since. The other aspect is that this Chinook is more capable, all right, as is the newer version of the Mark III which we are currently delivering to the U.K., than the equipment currently in our inventory. And the average age of the U.K. fleet all right, is somewhat 15 to 20 years younger than the fleet currently in the United States Army.
What I would like to do is just reiterate a couple comments that I had in my written statement and then I would pass the mike to Mr. Borgman and leave ample room for questions. I would like to talk about what we are doing at Boeing with regards to research development, design and production in the area of rotorcraft. Boeing Army systems is a growing $2 billion business which encompasses systems integration work on several major U.S. Army transformational programs, including the future combat systems and the joint tactical radio system.
Our core business also includes our rotorcraft activities centered in our facilities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Mesa, Arizona where we employ about 10,000 skilled and talented people. In addition we support a widespread supplier base in more than 43 states. Both of these sites enjoy a rich heritage of rotorcraft production that spans more than half of a century. They draw on a legacy of innovation that includes rotorcraft pioneers such as Howard Hughes and Frank Piasecki.
As you know Mr. Chairman, the business that Frank Piasecki started in a suburban Philadelphia garage has grown into a rotorcraft production facility that occupies 3 1/4 million square feet and employs approximately 4400 people. This facility includes a world-renowned 20 foot by 20 foot low speed wind tunnel, a state of the art simulation facility and world class composite manufacturing capabilities. Philadelphia is a great place to do research. At this site, we manufacture and support the CH47 Chinook. More than 800 of these twin engine tandem rotor heavy lift helicopters are in service with the U.S. military and international customers.
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Our Philadelphia facility is also the location of our activities on the RAH66 Comanche. We are developing this armed reconnaissance helicopter in cooperation with our teammate, Sikorsky aircraft. The twin turbine, two-seat Comanche is the centerpiece of the U.S. Army aviation's modernization plan. The Comanche with its advanced sensor and integrated communications suite represents an essential reconnaissance node in the Army's network center for warfare architecture. Philadelphia is also the center for Boeing's work on the V22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft which is currently in low rate production. Boeing has partnered with team mate Bell Helicopter Textron in this program.
The V22 is the first aircraft designed from the ground up to be the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force special operations requirements. With the speed and range of a turbo prop and the vertical lift of a helicopter, the V22 offers unmatched flexibility for the 21st century war fighter. At our Mesa facility, where we have more than 4,100 employees, the focus is on manufacturing and modernization of the AH64 attack helicopter for the U.S. Army and international customers as well as developing new technologies for the defense industry.
Boeing has delivered more than 1,000 Apaches to customers around the world since the first aircraft rolled off the assembly line in 1983. The AH64 Delta Apache longbow is the latest version of the combat proven Apache. Its longbow fire control radar and advanced avionics suite gives combat pilots the ability to rapidly detect, classify, prioritize and engage stationery or moving targets at stand off ranges. We are also continuing to investigate the advanced systems, both manned and unmanned and new technologies to support the U.S. military's transformation.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Boeing is currently conducting concept development studies for an unmanned combat armed rotorcraft or UCAR. This U.S. Army DARPA program seeks to develop in a timeless survivable lethal, unmanned rotorcraft for the Army's objective force. Boeing is a phase one contractor and is currently in competition for a phase two award. We are also working on a revolutionary design concept called the Canard Rotor Wing (CRW), that can perform like a helicopter for vertical take offs and landings and is officially an aircraft for high speed cruise. In fact we expect to fly this aircraft early in April of this year. For rotor ring flight, the CRW's reaction drive rotor wing eliminates the need for mechanical drive train and anti-torque system. That equates to reduced weight cost and complexity. An unmanned version of the CRW could perform a variety of missions, including communications and data rely reconnaissance and logistics resupply.
But the critical question is whether we can deliver on the promise of these and other new advanced rotorcraft concepts, looking at the track record so far, the odds would seem to be less than favorable. For several years, the focus has been largely on extending the life of existing platforms rather than development and production of new built aircraft. The last new helicopter development contract from the Department of Defense was award in 1991 for the Comanche. That represents a gap of 12 years.
In fact our most recent hope, the joint transport rotorcraft program, also known as AMT, has disappeared from the long-range budget plans altogether. In fact we now ask the question, how will the objective force move on the battlefield? Some of us here can recall the futuristic stories of the 1950s that forecasted the vast potential for rotorcraft. Many of those stories predicted we would all have a helicopter in our garage and we would be using it to fly between city centers. But last night, I looked in my garage and there wasn't a helicopter there. More than 50 years later, the vision has let to materialize. There is no mass market consumer base for helicopters.
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Boeing used to be in the commercial helicopter business. We employed several hundred people in Mesa, Arizona and Culver City, California. We delivered thousands of single and twin engine helicopters and we advanced the state of the art in technology with such concepts as a rotorless anti-torque system, better known as no tar. However, in the 1990s, we saw our global market share being consumed by subsidized foreign competitors. In an attempt to hold market share, we designed two new helicopters, the MV900 and the MV600 using internal corporate development dollars.
These products were quickly countered by new foreign entrants whose development was significantly supported by their governments. Indeed, after losing money for 10 years, Boeing exited commercial rotorcraft market in 1998. As we have seen the military rotorcraft market is largely evolved from buying new aircraft to upgrades and remanufactures of fielded platforms. At the time, as the time between new products is getting longer and longer, the industry has often been forced to rely on international sales to bridge gaps between U.S. military programs in order to keep production lines warm and retain our skilled workforces. This is exactly what we have done on the CH47 program in Philadelphia. But this is becoming more and more difficult as a result of increasingly aggressive challenges from our European competitors in markets around the world.
These competitors, bolstered by increasing government support for research and development of military, as well as civil rotorcraft, are offering new products and incorporating technological advances in areas such as rotor blades and transmissions that match or sometime exceed U.S. capabilities.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Rotorcraft technology is a national asset. We have seen how helicopters have contributed to the defense of the Nation and enriched our lives. Anyone who watches CNN knows how effective they have been in conflicts around the globe and humanitarian missions. The question is, how long can we continue down this path? There are many emerging requirements for rotorcraft. The impact of reduced Federal funding for rotorcraft science and technology work has delayed the accomplishment of national priorities in several vital market areas. Advanced rotorcraft systems to support mobility requirements for the Army's objective force, emerging homeland security applications, runway independent short haul transportation capabilities to relieve congestion at airports and crowds in crowded skies.
Will we be able to meet these new requirements? I believe we have little choice. Increased funding and collaboration on research and development offers a step in the right direction. Without the right investments now, rotorcraft will not be able to fulfill these rules envisioned for them in the future. Industry, college and universities and government, must work together to ensure continued development of the best rotorcraft technology to meet the ever growing needs of our Nation as well as to sustain the competitiveness of U.S. rotorcraft industry in the international marketplace.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Krone can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Krone.
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STATEMENT OF DEAN C. BORGMAN, PRESIDENT, SIKORSKY AIRCRAFT CORPORATION
Mr. BORGMAN. Thank you, Chairman Weldon, Mr. Abercrombie, appreciate the opportunity to be here tonight to share my perspective on the rotorcraft industrial base in the U.S. I am proud to represent Sikorsky on this occasion. Just one week ago today marked the 80th anniversary of our company. I think that makes it one of the oldest aviation companies in the U.S.
Our founder was Igor Sikorsky and he designed, built and flew the world's first practical helicopter, the VS300 and we have the privilege of continuing that legacy today. By the way, that little factoid earned him, a young man, $2 million on, if you want to be a millionaire.
Our products as you heard already are currently in service with all of the branches of the U.S. military. Our core product has been and remains the Blackhawk helicopter and its derivatives and they fly a number of different missions for the U.S. Army, for the U.S. Air Force, for the Marine Corps and we also manufacture the U.S. Navy Sea Hawk and the U.S. Coast Guard Jay Hawk and our product is the CH53 which is in service at the U.S. Air Force, the Navy and the Marine Corps. We also manufacture two different civil aircraft. These include the S76 which flies VIP transport emergency medical service and airline missions in 40 countries around the world. It also includes the all new S92, which is a 19 to 22 passenger machine that was recently announced as the winner of the Collier trophy for 2002 which is the aviation industry's highest honor for technology, innovation and excellence.
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The F92 has a military variant, the H92 which we believe is ideally suited to upcoming Air Force and Marine Corps medium lift requirements and that includes the presidential transport mission that Sikorsky has been honored to fulfill for the last 40 years. Finally, with our Boeing partner, we are developing the Comanche, the next generation stealth reconnaissance and attack helicopter for the Army. The key point that I would like to make today concerns the rotorcraft industrial base and it has to do with our fundamental research capabilities in this country.
Like my industry colleagues have already pointed out, I will caution strongly against any complacency or self satisfaction when it comes to the future of rotorcraft technology. In fact I believe we may already be sowing the seeds of our future demise. The basic reason is very simple. In the technology gains that we see applied in our products today are in large part attributable to the advanced technology work that was done in the previous generation on core rotorcraft science.
Let me speak from some personal experience. As a young engineer in the 1960s, I was hired as one of the first employees of a joint Army NASA rotorcraft technology agreement at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. It was a very exciting time. My employer, the Army was already deep into the use of helicopters to support combat operations, but had no facility at that time at which to develop and test the useful technologies, develop new technologies which could lead to new vehicle concepts and unique operational concepts. In other words, they wanted to become a smarter buyer.
NASA at that time was racing to the moon. They had excess test capacity for what it viewed as more mundane aeronautical research and it was a foundation for a great partnership. But it was also an exciting time because were moving rapidly into important research that advanced the uniquely challenging science of rotorcraft. In the mid 1960s, that was less than 30 years after Igor Sikorsky's first flight in the VS300 and there were still many undeveloped properties of rotary wing flight that needed to be explored further and there are just as many today.
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I just want to remind you that this is the year that we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the first flight of fixed wing aircraft with the Wright brothers flight. It has been 64 years since the first flight of rotary wing aircraft. It would be interesting to compare the investments that have been made in a fixed wing versus rotary wing over the life of their respective developments. I think you would see that the rotorcraft is still a long way from maturity in developing as a technology.
The experiments and tests that we did in that first decade of the agreement between Army and NASA I think had a profound impact on rotorcraft designs and operations. I could give you many examples. Let me just point a couple which I think you will be familiar with.
The advance rotor system that is being developed on Comanche today is based on fundamental work on bearingless main rotor technology that was developed at Ames beginning in the 1970s. The first full scale rotor noise measurements that were made on rotorcraft were done in NASA Ames 80 foot wind tunnel and that research firm formed the foundation for helicopter noise reduction work that is been going on since that time. The solution to the issues which held back further development of tilt rotor technology in the 1960s were demonstrated in NASA Ames 80 foot wind tunnel and was the basis for the decision to proceed with the XV15 technology demonstrator aircraft. The XV15 of course formed the technology base for the V22 program as Mr. Murphey already described and also pointed out that there would be an no V22 program today had it not been for the work that was done then.
In short, the industry and our military customers took advantage of the opportunities to deepen our understanding of rotorcraft science and technology. This greater understanding translated directly into new vehicle designs, new applications for helicopters and gave rise to America's unquestioned ability to command the air immediately above the modern battle space.
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Contrast that excitement then against the current state of affairs, for example at NASA Ames where national assets like the 40 by 80 and the 80 by 120 wind tunnel facilities are sitting idle for want of money, not for lack of work. And we struggle along with our friend such as yourselves to scrape together funding at even a fraction of historical levels. I recognize nothing is free in life and certainly nothing is free when it comes to advancing the cause of science and engineering.
In the absence of investments today in rotorcraft technology, the helicopters our armed forces are going to use in the decades ahead are going to be no quieter, no safer or fundamentally more capable than the aircraft that are coming out of our factories right now.
While my remarks have focused on military products and military applications, Mr. Slater has already pointed out that there are potential benefits that commercial helicopters can bring to our country as well. It goes without saying that our national air transportation system which is dependent upon fixed wing aircraft deployed from large hub airports is showing its age. One out of every five flights in this country fails to arrive at its destination on time and that ratio spikes even higher in the winter months such as now.
Helicopters offer a tantalizing, a non-runway dependent alternative to fixed wing aircraft over short hauls, but they are limited by social objections to noise levels that many communities still find objectionable and unacceptable. In recent years, helicopter operations in areas as far flung as New York, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington and California have withered under local and municipal restrictions that are brought on by citizen pressure groups and communities of all sizes.
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To cite an extreme example, Boston, a bustling metropolitan center with a chronically dysfunctional airport no longer has a dedicated heliport. There was another evolution that began in Boston a couple hundred years ago. We might see history repeat itself. There is room in our national transportation system for a quieter helicopter but we need fundamental industry wide research on next generation technologies such a blade tips and blade control systems. This is the kind of work that can only take place under the umbrella of a national rotorcraft technology program. While such a technology program could take many forms, as someone who participated in the creation of the Army NASA partnerships some 35 years ago, I would argue that we should not overlook the assets that we had in terms of facilities that many of these areas today.
As an example, NASA Ames is home to low and high-speed wind tunnels and rotor and tilt rotor test stands where the rotorcraft industry has tested its technologies for decades. The scientists, the technicians that are there are active participants in the American Helicopter Society which is the premier technical society in the helicopter industry. It has strong connections with the people, the laboratories, the test beds, not only at Sikorsky, but at the facilities of Bell and Boeing, university centers of excellence and other Federal research facilities. These assets and others like them around the country and the people who will oversee them collectively represent a unique national capability.
Whatever additional support Congress or the administration choose to provide to the industry should leverage as directly as possible the existing framework of people, laboratories and relationships. I think this would be both the fastest as well as the most cost effective approach to revitalizing the science and technology infrastructure for rotorcraft development.
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I would like to thank you once again, Mr. Chairman, for your intense interest in the health and the future of America's helicopter industry. As today's testimony makes clear, we are challenged on many, many fronts and there is no doubt that we can meet these challenges. There is no doubt that increased investment in the core technologies to make rotorcraft safer, quieter and more efficient are the best strategy to enhance our competitive position in the world marketplace. Thank you for this opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Borgman can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Borgman.
Thank all four of you for your testimony and for your statements and you have raised some issues that we obviously have to confront and address. We will start the questioning off on the issue of trade and competition.
Mr. Murphey, you mentioned that over 50 percent of the helicopters being used in our domestic market for civilian purposes, search and rescue, fire, sheriff and so forth are produced by France and yet I think you also said or one of you said that the French do not allow us to have access to their marketplace to sell our helicopters.
I find that totally offensive and would ask you for your comments and suggestions about what we can do, is it just because of their governmental subsidies or are there other reasons why that phenomenon is taking place. And for the other witnesses who are manufacturing some platforms that perhaps could be sold to other countries, I want to ask you the question. I know that I think both Sikorsky and Boeing have had some interest in perhaps selling some platforms eventually that are on what we call the munitions list. And whether or not that is an unfair disadvantage. Perhaps there are sales that we could make to countries like China of non-military variance of platforms that you build that could provide some additional opportunities for economic growth in our industry.
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Are these other countries selling similar products in countries like China and should we in fact change the way that we look at the munitions list relative to helicopters. So I will let any one of you respond to those two points.
Mr. MURPHEY. I would be happy to start. First of all, I want to make it clear that I believe in competition and I believe in worldwide competition but I expect that competition to be played on a level playing field. We are the only U.S. company now that has a broad product line both in commercial and military. Half of our business literally has been historically commercial, the other half military. It has helped us whether the various economic cycles within DOD and the commercial markets. We sell a lot of product internationally. Our biggest market is in the America's but about 40 percent of it is international, Asia, Europe, mideast, Africa, Latin America. So I believe in competition and I believe in open trade. The difficulty that we have with competition particularly coming out of Eurocopter is the investment that the French and the European community makes in the product development. It is substantial.
The European business economic model for investment, return on investment and profit is different than what is expected here in this Nation. We find that while we can compete in the civil marketplace withinternationally, if we wanted to go in and sell to a French government agency, their equivalent to the border patrol, their equivalent to the Coast Guard, their equivalent to the local sheriff, police and fire departments, that market does not exist for us.
Does it not exist because we do not have good products? I do not believe so. I think it just does not exist for us. Yet at the same time our markets are free and open as they should be.
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Mr. WELDON. You mean they will not let you compete there, the subsidies are so heavy you cannot.
Mr. MURPHEY. We could compete if the competition was an open competition for requirements but often it is not. It is decided what they are going to buy. Unlike us here in this U.S. that have open competition foranybody can come and play, anybody can come and compete.
Mr. WELDON. I would like to have your suggestions on how we can rectify that. I do not think the French, although they are used to having double standards, it is kind of a part of their way of life.
Mr. MURPHEY. I do not know there is an immediate solution to this. What I would ask though is that with, in our government agencies, that we make sure that we have got open and fair competition. I would also ask that the Congress, NASA, the government agencies look at our investment policy as a Nation and to the rotorcraft industry and help us replicate what goes on within France and the European Union (EU) as far as support of that industry to make them worldwide competitive.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
On the other issue of the munitions list, I think both of you might want to comment.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KRONE. Mr. Chairman, I will speak about China and actually Mr. Borgman and I share the same issue relative to China. In Philadelphia, we had CH47s in the production line that had actually been purchased and money had been paid by mainline China to buy a fleet of heavy lift helicopters primarily for infrastructure support and development of the interior. At the same of Tienamen Square, because the CH47 is on the munitions list, our export license was withdrawn and we had to turn around and refund the money back to mainland China.
The CH47 has been manufactured in several configurations. One configuration is a model 234 and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified commercial helicopter. We have obtained permission to sell the commercially certified model 234 in China but believe that it is an inappropriate action for Boeing to take given that the military version is on the munitions list. I think that example highlights the dual standard that we are currently under relative to certain classifications of helicopters.
Now I do believe some of our more offensive oriented helicopters, the Apache and the Comanche, have an appropriate place on the munitions list. But heavy lift and medium lift helicopters which are in competition with helicopters like the Delfine and other products available from the French, I believe should be taken off of the munitions list and we ought to be given the opportunity to sell those competitively in the marketplace as Eurocopter has done in China. Thank you.
Mr. BORGMAN. Yes, I would like just to add to that. We have a commercial derivative of the Blackhawk which is designated the F70. Sikorsky actually delivered 24 of those to China in the 1980s prior to Tienamen Square. Subsequent to Tienamen Square, no more could be delivered and in fact we can no longer deliver spare parts at the rate we would like to or in the areas we would like to in order for China to continue support the flight of those, although they have done an amazing job doing so. I was in Beijing last summer and they have all but one of those aircraft still flying and that is without a lot of support from us in doing so.
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The result of us not being able to go there and they would very much like to buy additional F70s from us, is that it opens up that market for the French and the French are in fact selling there. Now we do have other commercial ventures with China with things that are not on the munitions list that this particular one hurts us badly because if we could increase our production base for the F70, it would directly result in lower prices for the military versions of the Blackhawk that do sell and you heard General Bergance talk about some of the problems that he has got with increasing costs and we could help ourselves immensely if we could increase the base, the production base for the aircraft.
Mr. WELDON. I thank you for those answers and I would just say, what you are saying is prior to Tienamen Square, you were selling these commercial variants in China.
Mr. KRONE. That is correct.
Mr. WELDON. And not because of the capability, but because of the Tienamen Square incident, you were denied that. Tienamen Square was how many years ago?
Mr. BORGMAN. That was 1989.
Mr. WELDON [continuing]. 1989. It has been 12, 13 years ago. Well that to me is outrageous and Neil if you agree me, I would like to try to ask staff to take this issue on since we are
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ABERCROMBIE. The question for us is whether or not and I am sure we will understandwe have had in this committee and Mr. Weldon has been a leader on it in trying to make sure that we do not have technology going to certain areas of the world, China included, which should be reserved to the United States, at least to the extent that obviously you cannot control the intellect, but we are talking about proven technology that could serve military purposes. But if I understood you correctly, this was notthis was a political decision which ended up with a commercial ramification as opposed to an armed services decision with respect to technology that might be utilized by a foreign military.
Mr. BORGMAN. I believe that
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Is that correct?
Mr. BORGMAN. Yes, I believe that to be right.
Mr. KRONE. Correct in our case as well. I just would like to call your attention that the Chinook was designed in the mid-1960s and although it is a terrific Checker cab, I do not think people describe it as high technology.
Mr. WELDON. I think as the chairman of this subcommittee, Neil, I would ask you to join with me.
Rhett, I am going to ask you to get your association behind it. We are going to make an all-out push and I will put the Pentagon on noticeno actually the State Department that this is denying U.S. workers jobs. It is denying us market share and it is allowing the French to come in and compete and sell very similar products that the China are going to have anyway. It is about time we changed it. And I think we ought to put them on notice. Rhett, you can help us with your association and without getting the companies in trouble, this can be a congressionally led action to overturn this decision and I am going to let Mr. Bolton know that we want this changed and I assume he is the right person to handle this issue for the State Department. He is a good friend of mine.
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So I think it is wrong. I think it is one thing
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. It was until now.
Mr. WELDON. And on the issue of the French in terms of, let us know what specific things we can do. I mean I am sick and tired of the French taking market share from us and we sit back and we let them do that and we do not do anything in response. Tell us what specific things besides increasing our R&D technology funding base, which you have my commitment that I am going to do this year, tell us what else. I mean I am offended by that to be honest with you. I want to do something about it.
Let me ask another question. On the issue of capabilities and I do not know whether I heard this someplace or not, but helicopters are so versatile and working issues involving disasters, as I also do in the Congress, I see helicopters in action all the time. I heard someplace where there was a possibility if we had helicopters ready to go perhaps heavy lift helicopters that we could have deployed them immediately. We have been able to even have plucked some people off of the Trade Center towers before they collapsed. Is that true? Would that have been possible?
Mr. MURPHEY. I think Flater is probably the most knowledgeable on this because we did as an industry have an after action report if you will of what happened in New York and the role of helicopters and Rhett chaired that as part of the American Helicopter
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. Rhett, you want to respond?
Mr. FLATER. AHS has a seminar or workshop on homeland security back in November immediately following these events and we invited down pilots from New York, especially those with the New York/New Jersey Port Authority to give us there insights about this. Subsequently there were also some articles published in the ''Wall Street Journal.''
The sum and substance of this is that one of the aircraft impacted the north tower. That tower really began burning. Another aircraft impacted the south tower, but within 12 minutes after the first tower being impacted, the New York City police department had a Bell 412 equipped with a hoist in the air, in the immediate vicinity of the north tower. South tower they could not do anything about. The fire was too hot. It was burning too quickly. The north tower they think they could have. Now the pilot that was flying the aircraft, the crew he had on board equipped with a hoist was the same pilot, the same crew in the same aircraft, the same Bell 412 that saved about a half dozen people from one of the towers back in 1993 after the bomb.
So they could have brought the people in and done something there. Why didn't they do it? Because there was no command in control. They were denied access to the tower by the Port Authority for the police department, by the fire department. So they could not.
Mr. WELDON. Conclusion of your study was that perhaps if we would have been able to respond immediately, we could have saved maybe a few lives.
Mr. FLATER. Correct, but there was no plan. There was no command in control and as a result they could not do anything about this. Now the other point I was going to make was pursuant to instruction from the New York City fire department, they had also locked the egress from the top floor of the towers, where the stairs come up. These rooms were locked. They could notbut they believed they could have knocked them open using equipment they had on board the aircraft. So that was what we found.
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Mr. WELDON. Part of whatyou all know that I am proposing is a major new initiative to really push rotorcraft forward because I am really disgusted by what NASA has done and I am not happy by what the military has done and I am concerned about the industrial base. And part of it is, I do not see the focus on rotorcraft and its capabilities that I see in fixed wing fighter tactical technology and our shipbuilding areas and yet as I heard from our military personnel, some of the largest incidents involving loss of life and casualties are in helicopters.
And if you look at the potential to perhaps enhance our travel in America, rotorcraft I think offers us some very interesting possibilities. I have seen designs for tilt rotors that I think carried as many as 80 passengers, at least conceptually I saw those designs that I think your companies have had. Yet no focus on that, yet airport expansion is a problem all over America. As I look at homeland security, I think in the case of the trade center or others, rotorcrafts can offer some tremendous potential but it seems like nobody is putting the money on the table to look at these issues, the same we are looking at reducing the noise from aircraft engines. We spend a ton of money on that through out NASA budget, tons of money.
So let me just ask you quickly before I turn to my good friend Neil for his final questions, you have all seen the general concept of what I want to do in putting a new thrust on rotorcraft. Do you support that kind of idea and do you think it is something that is worth pursuing? Start with Rhett and go right down the line.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. That is known as a big softball.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. Well, it could be a big pineapple if you come from Hawaii.
Mr. FLATER. I am going to respond and tell that I am fully supportive of it. I think it is a wonderful idea. I think it will provide a national focus for our industry and our research development efforts and we applaud your leadership in championing this cause. I will pass the mike down to Mr. Murphey.
Mr. MURPHEY. I would only echo what Rhett said. Rotorcraft work ever day somewhere in the world. They are taking our children and our brothers and sisters and nephew, nieces into harm's way and hopefully bringing them back again. In the U.S. domestically, they are saving lives with the EMS and the fire and rescue and preventing disasters with police and police activities. This isthese really are national assets. We need to make sure that we are not giving up our capability to continue to have this asset for our Nation.
Mr. KRONE. You know of course we enthusiastically support the concept. I think a unique aspect of the rotorcraft industry is how well we collaborate as an industry. Boeing is in the unique position to be sharing technology on two joint ventures, one with Bell and one with Sikorsky, where we literally take the best of best and share it across the industry for the benefit of the end customer. We think a national focus which has a collaborative aspect to it, will help to further the science and technology needs in the industry. Thank you.
Mr. BORGMAN. I am redundant, but I certainly support everything that has been said. We need to have a renewed emphasis on the development of rotorcraft technology. As I indicated I think rotorcraft technology is a couple of generations behind the fixed wing side. That is because there has not been the resources applied to rotorcraft as there have been in the fixed wing side. So I applaud the idea of any kind of a rotorcraft center of excellence. Thank you.
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Mr. WELDON. Thank you all.
Mr. Abercrombie, the floor is yours.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you for being here and I want to thank supporters and interested parties in the audience for staying at this hour.
Mr. Chairman, I want to compliment you on having the hearing this time. As you know, for many of us during the day, we would not be able toI probably would not have been able to spend this time. Of course I can spend it now because Hawaii is five hours earlier so I am still working tonight.
I am going to start off by defending the French. No, because the chairman asked forthe chairman asked for suggestions and of course, being a tool of labor, I think we should fight it in the World Trade Organization (WTO). You can talk all you want about free trade, but when it iswhen you are up against subsidized essentially government commercial operations as opposed to say the DOD operation being financed by the United States government and when you are up against trade circumstances which all work for one way against our own workers here, I think that we are up against a very difficult proposition.
Now in as much as I am in the minority on that, being an economic nationalist, I am looking to say then how can we compete and my suggestion is this and I hope you will take it up. You do not have to answer tonight, but I have brought it up with the Secretary of the Air Force and with others. If you are going to do the kinds of long-term expenditures associated with the development that you have been discussing here tonight and by the way Mr. Chairman, parenthetically I want to say this is one of the best panels that I have seen. I want to compliment you and the staff on putting this together.
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I would like you gentlemen and to take up the idea, at least to discuss it among yourselves about capital budgeting. Part of the reason I think you are getting stiffed on long-term investment, being able to take the long, make investment that takes long-term commitment is that we cash finance the defense of this country. You compete with the deployment that you showed us today. Those dollars now are being cannibalized out of the existing DOD budget for operations and maintenance. That is being cannibalized out of the budget and the President at some point will come to us with a supplementary request, including whatever action takes place or activities take place in Iraq or elsewhere around the world.
Philippines, we were all set to send people out to the Philippines until they discovered it was unconstitutional the other day in the Philippines. The dollars that are going to an aircraft carrier compete with what kind of research is being done with helicopters. One of the reasons you are getting stiffed on helicopters, on any kind of rotorcraft, is the money is too small. If you were asking for $5 billion, then everybody would sit up, take notice and salute and say absolutely. Let's do it.
But part of the problem is is that the money is not big enough. I mean $56 million, I grant you that is not much, but you see even if you said $560 million, if we did that, that is in some respects small potatoes compared to what happens in terms of the budgeting of the Pentagon right now because once that first dollar is encumbered on an aircraft carrier. That comes off the books. That is as if the $5 billion had already beeneven though it may take five or six years to build that aircraft carrier and we have to put the money forth for accounting purposes, that money has disappeared off the table and you do not get to try and get it.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to see particularly when we are doing not procurement, although I think that is a good idea too, but long-term R&D, is we have got to think seriously about having an operating budget for the DOD and a capital budget other sensible operation runs when you know that that way we could separate out the financing of the building, the manufacture of helicopterwhether it is an advanced form of the Chinook, right that was done in 1960 and maybe this is the fourth or fifth or sixth variation which is either marginal or even exponentially improved as opposed to some of the say the 80-passenger rotorcraft that might have a commercial as well as a military application.
So you need not comment on it unless it has come up before, but I am making that suggestion. I have been working on this for several years now and it has been very frustrating because there is arguments about well, if that happens, then the appropriators will get mad at you and so on. I do not think so, because I think we are at a stage of expenditure and this maybe goes back Mr. Flater, to yournot youryour comment about the new technology.
Maybe I did not state myself clearly enough. I am not opposed to fronting new technology. Quite the opposite. What I am saying is that is the competition for dollars because of the size of the requirement, the dollar requirement for the military platforms we have today as such, that perfectly reliable technology that we now have in our military platform which most particularly manifest itself in the helicopters we have had.
I mean is there a bigger success story in the world than say the six or seven prototypes that are out there that have been improved upon over the last 50 years? My dad worked at Bell Helicopter in World War II in Buffalo back when we had manufacturing in this country instead of sending it overseas to the French. So I think that this is a big success story there. That is what I meant. That and as long as you got cash financing of the defense of this country, you are going to see that the kinds of things that you are advocating are going to have very, very tough sledding in terms of getting the financing.
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So I would like you to think about that. When I said about defending the French, what I meant was, I give them credit. They know what they want. They are going after it. They are kicking in case you do not know what it is, it is just exactly what you think it is in Hawaiian. They make no bones about it. What do we got? We got jerks on television pouring wine in a sewer, changing french fry names or something like that. Come on. It is childish.
What we have to do here it seems to me is recognize that they are serious players and they are going to do that and then we have got to counteract and the way I think we counteract it is we putI will stack up the American worker and the American manufacturer against anybody in the world if we back them up and give the opportunity. And I think capital budgeting is the way to do that.
Now this is a serious question. Again, because of this immediate reaction going on, there is going to be the air show in June and there is calls in this country right now that the United States should not participate in an air show. Now I have been privileged to accompany Chairman Young and other Members to this, both in England and in France and I am very, very impressed as a lay person in this. Someone who went and got his degree at an engineering school, Union College, they had a liberal arts tradition, because I wanted to try as someone who did not have a proclivity towards engineering and technical nature to understand how things in society work.
I am very impressed with what happened there and I would like to have your thoughts as to whether or not the United States should participate. If we are going to compete, it seems to me to run away from being involved inwhen those folks are showing off and attracting and setting up exhibits to try to sell to the world, if the United States is not there, aren't you going to be shut out?
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Mr. MURPHEY. I will respond to that one. Paris is the premier air show in the world and
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. But it is not just a showmaybe the public does not understand it. Not that it is a show. Business is done there.
Mr. MURPHEY. That is correct and it is the premier event in aviation. There are a number of U.S. companies over the years though that have elected to forego the Paris Air Show. They go to regional shows in the Latin America, Germany, elsewhere as opportunities. Some of those decisions have been economic decisions simply because
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Fair enough.
Mr. MURPHEY [continuing]. So expensive to participate at Paris. I think it is up to each individual company to make those kinds of decisions based upon the economics in the market should they participate or not?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Not everybody needs to answer, but I just think that this is something where the United States should not be running away because of journalistic vaudevillians making cheap shots on TV, all these ignoramuses that are paid, whose, the way I look at it their minds are on vacation and their mouths are working over time.
I think that the principal thing Mr. Chairman with respect toMr. Krone's points about the number of Chinooks that are in Great Britain for example. Is that because they buy fewer so they bought new and we have got such a big fleet or such a big investment, we just try and keep it going and we are spreading our defense dollar out a lot further than the British?
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Mr. KRONE. Well, that is in fact what has happened Congressman. But I believe their acquisition strategy has been different than the U.S. Army's.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay.
Mr. KRONE. What has happened in the U.K. and I would submit that Japan also buys the Chinook and they have followed this acquisition strategy and they both have fleets of about 60 Chinooks. They have bought their Chinooks at a lower rate but over a longer period of time and inserted new technology along the way. So the U.K. started with the Mark I, the Mark II, the Mark IIA and then finally the Mark III. They have a different acquisition strategy. The way the U.S. Army bought the Chinooks was really a visage of the Vietnam era. They bought lots of helicopters very quickly in the 1960s and into the 1970s and then they had gone about the process of taking the Cs to the Ds and the Ds to the Fs, MH47Es to the MH47Gs in an upgrade program.
it is just a different acquisition philosophy. I will tell you sir that the Japanese do not overhaul their helicopters. They throw them away. Is the program CH47J program, they make a life cycle cost decision to buy new instead of overhauling the old aircraft based upon economics and math that they do relative to the JDA in Japan. So there are different ways
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So this is a strategy.
Mr. KRONE. Yes, there are different ways to look at maintaining your helicopter base and we have seen each country I think take a different strategy in that regard.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And then, Mr. Borgman, you talked about the absence of the investment dollars and that goes to capital budget. So my guess, my final question again, I am very grateful for you staying so late, but believe me, I know Curt Weldon and he is going to carry through on these things. So your time is not ill spent at all, I can assure you of that.
Would you be interesteddo you think there is some merit in at least exploring the idea of trying to get a capital budget into the DOD? Does it strike you at all, other than Mr. Murphey I think seemed a little bit favorable, at least to the idea, does it strike you as strange and unworkable and just is not and why waste time?
Mr. BORGMAN. No, I would not, I would not discount that at all. I think it is something that should be explored and in fact any mechanism that would allow us to invest in this industry is something that we ought to explore and I think that is something that ought to be on the table.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I do notI just do not seewell, I am interrupting unless there is no other comment.
Okay, well Mr. Chairman, you have indulged me enough.
Mr. WELDON. Will the gentleman yield on that?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Certainly.
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Mr. WELDON. Rhett, can I ask you to go to the industry groups and you all belong to the aerospace industries association. Why do not we ask them to take Neil's idea, because he has talked about this since I have been hearing, why do not we ask them to come back and see ifwouldn't that be the appropriate group to do it?
Mr. FLATER. We would be delighted.
Mr. WELDON. Ask them to come back to us because we are the procurement committee if there is some suggestions about Neil's idea that might work that we could act on this year.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You see the way the committee has been reit is interesting. It is interesting to me because I am sitting here. I am going to stay longer and the rest of you are wondering when the hell we are going to stop, but some good things can come out of this. See, the way Mr. Hunter has reorganized the committee is to try and modernize our capacity to respond. In other words, we are now organized vertically instead of horizontally so that we can do R&D procurement, authorization and move to appropriation in a way that makes sense in terms of the mission requirements of the various services and their satellites.
And so for the first time I feel a little bit optimistic that maybe something like capital budgeting in the DOD can work because you can set off segments of the whole process whichin which you now you are going to have to make an investment for maybe eight, 10 or 12 years. So who knows, in order to accomplish this. So that you do not have to come in with the equivalent oflike you do in your own companies, how are we going to do this quarter and if we are not making money, we are screwing the guy that is off standing there saying, you know, this is going to take three or four years for us to get a return, is the guy that is made to stand in the corner in the back of the room and if there is anything left over, he or she gets it at that point. So that isyes.
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Mr. KRONE. I would only liken Congressman, your thoughts to the role of multi-year contracting in procurement and significant benefits that that has accrued the government on programs like the C17 and the F18. Your suggestion takes that even further and says we ought to look in capital budgeting starting at the S&T phase of the programming and carry that all the way through production.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Right, so that it does not compete then with deployments and operations and training and maintenance and all of the other aspects which otherwise will fall down. And the last thing I want to say Mr. Chairman is this. The Army is always going to be bringing up the rear on this because it does not cost enough. There are very few carrier equivalents in the Army. There are very few Air Force joint strike fighters. The helicopters have a tough time competing against the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) just for your own company, say Boeing. You are looking at one thing.
You are several hundred million, billion dollars maybe you are looking at and over here is the helicopters on the side saying gee can we have some more gruel too, and we are the Oliver Twist syndrome there. He is a cute kid, but he did not get the gruel. And so this is a way I see for getting some equity into this process and for seeing to it that the kind of capital investment we are going to need to make anyway in the end gets funded in a manner that does not then compete with the operations side. Thank you. I will send some of this stuff along to you folks and if you could justif we get the idea just out there and with the good offices of the chairman maybe we can explore this to see whether it is worth bringing to fruition.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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I want to thank everybody for indulging us up here. I tell you for a fact that with Curt in charge, everybody's testimony tonight is going to be digested and we will come up with something. We were not just here marking time.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentlemen and he is correct. We will take these items. We will go to work on them and we will guarantee we will give you results this year. We ask for your support. I just want to say one thing before you all leave. It is 8:30 at night. We have been sitting here for 3 1/2 hours. Usually you will never have 70 people sitting in a congressional hearing room unless there is some scandal involving a Member of Congress. Everyone wants to hear the last little tidbit and for 70 people to sit here, obviously somebody did their homework.
So Rhett or all of you, what your teamI assume these are probably all subs. How many are subcontractors on the rotorcraft programs? Well, for all of you who are here, thanks for sticking around. I mean, for 3 1/2 hours. You deserve a Hawaii for sitting listening to Neil and I speak.
Mr. FLATER. Mr. Chairman, if I could just say one word in closing and that is that I wanted to endorse Mr. Abercrombie's proposal and I want to assure the chairman and Mr. Abercrombie we will take this issue up in the supplier base that is arrayed behind me and with the primes located beside me, but the cost of what we are looking for really, the amount that we are looking to capital budget is less than the cost of a single F22. We are not talking about a lot of money. Thank you.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I did not mean to imply that you are notwe are not going to take this up unless this kind of thing happens. I am just saying that I think capital budgeting is an idea in the overall context of DOD research and long-term development of crucial platforms is something that I think
Mr. WELDON [continuing]. Supporting your idea so he deserves a box of Macademia nuts or a pineapple.
With that, this hearing stands adjourned. Thank you all.
[Whereupon, at 8:29 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]