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Posted: 9/7/2001 9:19:42 PM EDT
The end of a era has arrived:
Army to Retire Vietnam-Era Helicopters By Charles Aldinger Reuters WASHINGTON (Sept. 7) - The U.S. Army said on Friday it will slash the number of helicopters in its current fleet from 4,500 to 3,500 by 2004, retiring all Vietnam-era AH-1 "Cobra" attack helicopters and UH-1 "Huey" troop transports. Army officials said the speed-up in the service's aviation modernization plan would not hurt readiness to fight because it would improve maintenance and reliability of remaining "choppers" flown by both active and reserve forces. The active force will lose 400 helicopters and the Reserve and National Guard will lose 600 under the plan, Army Brig. Gen. Raymond Odierno told reporters. "The idea is to transform the force, to do it quickly and not to hurt readiness," said Odierno, an official in the service's force management office. The Army will in the future rely increasingly on more modern AH-64 "Apache" attack helicopters and UH-60 "Blackhawk" troop carriers -- successors to the older aircraft being retired over the coming three years. Odierno said only three out of four of the current fleet of helicopters are ready to fly at any given time because so many of them are aging and difficult to maintain. "The goal is to get that readiness rate up to 90 percent" with helicopters that have been produced since the Vietnam War, the general added. Army officials said the service had not yet determined how much money the Army's smaller fleet of four types of helicopters, which will also include little OH-58 "Kiowa" reconnaissance and CH-47 "Chinook" troop carriers, would save for the service. But Odierno stressed that all money saved would be put back into aviation modernization and that the Army hoped to slightly boost the annual purchase of its new AH-64 "Comanche" armed reconnaissance helicopters beginning in 2006. The service had planned to buy an initial 62 Comanches, produced jointly by Boeing Co. and United Technologies Corp., a year starting in 2006. The Comanche is the product of an 18-year quest for a new armed reconnaissance chopper and the Army hopes to buy more than 1,000 of them in a $34 billion program. The two-seat aircraft is quieter and harder for enemy radar to detect than current helicopters. It can identify targets and coordinate the flow of data among soldiers, vehicles and aircraft. Reuters 13:44 09-07-01
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Link Posted: 9/8/2001 4:30:33 AM EDT
Only question, If I get a surplus one how do I explain it to the little lady? My basement isn't quite big enough to hide it and claim Its been there for years...
Link Posted: 9/8/2001 10:16:35 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/9/2001 2:17:52 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/9/2001 2:26:59 AM EDT
I want one! I could give rides[):)]
Link Posted: 9/10/2001 6:39:00 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/10/2001 3:15:26 PM EDT
I have a big machine shed I would be willing to let someone "hide" one in....on one condition..when you get busted by the wife / girlfriend..I had nothing to do with it. medcop [heavy]
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 9:48:08 PM EDT
Maybe they'll have second thoughts about retiring them now... if you all remember, they intended to retire the A-10 Warthogs just before Desert Storm, and they quickly did an about-face. The Cobra would make a nifty armed scout/FAC. I hope they can find a use for them. FITTER out
Link Posted: 9/16/2001 12:26:55 PM EDT
Many of the retired "Hueys" are enjoying a second life an a general utility helicopters in the civilian world. During recent fire fighting efforts I talked to DNR officials about their use of Hueys. He said they can be acquired cheap but are expensive to bring up to federal certification for fire fighting support. Also, they are expensive to operate but given the prohibitive cost of new aircraft, re-utilizing military surplus way the only cost effective means to have an aviation element. Private aerial fire bombers have experimented with using Cobra's as water bombers. A water tank is installed in the machine gun and ammo storage areas. Only certain versions of the Cobra can be re-utilized as they have sufficient transmission/engine power to be successful weight lifters. An outfit is using surplus Blackhawks in Florida but they have been expensive to equip for fire fighting support. They are much more capable/faster than a Huey and may earn their keep under contract to the USFS. It is sad to see Hueys depart. I have several hundred hours riding around in them. FWIW....Geno
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