Uncertain funding, coupled with the high demand for aviation assets for training and operations, has raised concerns about the Army’s aviation readiness.
While the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter will remain a mainstay of Army vertical-lift aviation for years to come, plans are afoot to develop its replacement. While the new aircraft is probably 20 years away from a production-line startup, prospective contractors have distinct ideas about how it would look and perform.
Army aviation needs more money so it can continue to incrementally improve existing aircraft while simultaneously developing a dramatically more capable fleet. What is doesn’t need is to be spending a lot of money on advanced autonomously operating unmanned aircraft that could be tremendously expensive but incapable of operating in low-altitude, complex combat missions where quick and independent judgment is required, according to senior Army officials speaking at an aviation forum sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare.
The rotary wing aircraft of tomorrow will fly farther and faster, carry heavier payloads, have far more maneuverability and lethality, and be much smarter than today’s helicopters—and that tomorrow isn’t far off, according to several experts.
These new systems eventually will replace the Army’s current fleet of Black Hawks and Apaches, the experts said.
I would prefer an aviation brigade that lived in Europe versus rotational,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, citing the advantages of both a permanent aviation brigade
A pilot program aimed at putting the right soldier in the right job will wrap up this summer at Fort Rucker, Ala.
The test underway at the Aviation Captain’s Career Course is part of a larger talent management initiative that Lt. Gen. James C. McConville, deputy chief of staff for personnel, described as an important part of the Army’s future.
March 31, 2017
There is a “significant inventory gap” of Regular Army aviation warrant officers, largely the result of seven years of strained funding, a top service official told Congress.
Jan. 31, 2017
In anticipation of Congress and the Trump administration boosting defense spending, Army leaders have created funding wish lists that focus on troops, modernization and delayed installation maintenance.
The lists, totaling $8.2 billion for 2017 and $18.3 billion for 2018, reflect unfunded priorities aimed at both near- and long-term readiness.
A short-term spending bill that limits Army programs has been signed into law as part of a bipartisan agreement. The measure expires on April 28, so it gives President-elect Donald Trump seven months to work with Congress on the 2017 and 2018 defense budgets.
The stopgap spending bill signed into law by President Barack Obama includes a provision allowing multiyear procurement to continue on the Apache and Blackhawk helicopter programs to avoid disruption in production. It also gives the Army some flexibility in managing other programs until the next appropriations bill passes.
The Army is refining and aligning its strategy to counter the unmanned aerial systems threat that is looming ever larger.
A recent 13-page, unclassified “strategy extract” focuses on countermeasures for UAS groups 1 through 3 on DoD’s scale of five UAS groups, the smaller systems that can’t easily be countered by integrated air and missile defense systems.
“As UAS have become smaller, slower and operate at lower altitudes, they have become more challenging to detect, identify, and defeat,” the extract says. “Technological advances have exacerbated these challenges.”