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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Report: Army Spent Billions on Helicopter That Won’t Fly

'The helicopter program arrived in 2018 with lofty expectations...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Defense News has reported that the U.S. Army is abandoning its multibillion-dollar effort to build a new armed scout helicopter, known as the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft.

Citing budget documents, Defense News reported last week that the Army already spend $2 billion on the project and requested another $5 billion over the next five years.

“The helicopter program arrived in 2018 with lofty expectations. Army leaders hoped it would serve as a model for new acquisition approaches for its most complex and most expensive weapon systems … And, perhaps most importantly, the aircraft was slated to provide a long-needed armed scout solution after decades of starts and stops,” Defense News reported.

“But Thursday, the Army’s top acquisition officials described a new vision and major aviation overhaul. In addition to ending FARA, the Army plans to get rid of its entire Shadow and Raven unmanned aircraft fleets.”

According to Defense News, the Army is instead planning to spend its newly available funds on Black Hawks, the latest variant of the CH-47F Block II Chinook cargo helicopter, the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft and “research and development efforts to accelerate its unmanned aerial reconnaissance capability.”

Despite billions being spent on a helicopter that won’t fly, Gen. James Rainey, an acquisition leader overseeing the program, reportedly said that he doesn’t view the cancellation “as a failure.”

According to Defense News, the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft was intended to buttress the Army’s armed reconnaissance missions.

“Following the retirement of the Vietnam-era OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter, which long performed that mission, the service has relied on the more expensive AH-64E Apache attack helicopter paired with the Shadow unmanned aircraft system,” the publication reported.

The cancelling of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft follows other high-profile project failures, including the defunct $9 billion Comanche program, which was terminated in 2004.

The Army also canceled the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter in 2008, according to Defense News.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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