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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

$6-billion Contract or $9-billion?

In July 2005, Textron won the U.S. Army contract for the next generation armed reconnaissance helicopter, ARH. The ARH, designated the ARH-70A Arapaho, were to replace the Army's current Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warriors that are the Army’s most heavily used fleet in Iraq and are approaching the end of their operational life. This week, the Army said it might cancel the $6.2-billion Textron armed helicopter program after finding that projected costs are more than 40 percent above initial estimates. According to Reuters, the ARH, being built by Textron's Bell Helicopter unit, could be cancelled. However, the Army has a critical need for the capabilities involved and the termination would be a big hit for the service. The Bell program is designed to supply 512 helicopters during the next 10 years to replace about 375 of its OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. The Army's initial replacement, a $14.6 billion RAH-66 Comanche program, was canceled in 2004 in favor of buying a larger number of less expensive platforms with reduced capabilities. For related news
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