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Monday, November 5, 2007

Pentagon Postpones Review of VH-71 Restructuring

Jim McKenna

A top-level Pentagon review of efforts to restructure the VH-71 presidential helicopter program to correct delays and budget overruns has been put off until later this year. The U.S. Defense Dept. Defense Acquisition Board was to review the restructuring proposal Nov. 2, according to Amarillo.com, but "the Navy and other Pentagon officials asked that it be rescheduled until more data are prepared." The Naval Air Systems Command is running the development and acquisition program for the U.S. Marine Corps, whose Helicopter Sqdn. One would operate the aircraft as a replacement for Sikorsky Aircraft VH-3Ds. Lockheed Martin is leading development of the VH-71, which is based on AgustaWestland's EH101 and would be manufactured by Bell Helicopter. Navy officials decided to restructure the program after a watchdog review cited cost and schedule problems. Current plans call for delivery of four test aircraft and five initial production ones through 2009. The aircraft are to be built in Amarillo, Texas, but Bell may move that work to Fort Worth, Texas as part of the restructuring. For related news
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