Military, Products

U.S. Army’s ARH Survives GAO Hit, For Now

By James T. McKenna | May 6, 2008

Attack, Observation/Patrol

The U.S. Army’s ARH-70A program apparently has survived the latest hit–a recent review that called for cutting all production funding in the Fiscal 2009 federal budget. Senators late last week signed off tentatively on a defense authorization bill that includes funding to procure 20 of the Bell Helicopter armed reconnaissance aircraft. That’s less than the 28 sought in President Bush’s budget request, "but it’s not zero," one lobbyist close to budget battles said. ARH advocates have spent most of the last aligning and solidifying support for the program from top leaders in the Army, Defense Dept., and Congress. They made much progress in that regard, but were forced to scramble when a General Accountability Office "quick-look" review recommended cutting all funding in the next fiscal year. That was based on the program’s shift of a Milestone C review to mid-Fiscal 2009. But program officials said the critical milestone is a Defense Acquisition Board review scheduled for July 2. While ARH was spared the knife by the Senate authorizers, program advocates anticipate they will have to refute that GAO recommendation at every step of the budgeting process going forward. For related news

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