Quad-A, the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual gathering was kicked-off in earnest by MG Anthony Crutchfield on the first morning when he set the Army’s aim point for the new Joint Multi-Role helicopter at 2030. By that date, he said, the lifetime of all of the Army’s major platforms would be in sight: Apache Block III would come to the end of its service life around 2040, so to the UH-60M, the CH-47F Chinook had five years less, and the upgraded Kiowa Warrior OH-58D would not extend beyond 2025 at the latest.
The rotorcraft would have to deliver increased speed, range, payload, a reduced logistical footprint and survivability. “It is going to have to be something new. We won’t get everything we want, but we need to get what we need,” he decreed. Recognizing that the ‘happy days’ of Comanche cancellation derived funding was now over, he added: “We cannot afford another Apache.”
The “greatest challenge” the Army faces “is beyond Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said, adding that it is not all about “how we adapt to the future.” Crutchfield said that 623 helicopters were currently deployed into Iraq and Afghanistan (there are still around 240 in Iraq with two Combat Aviation Brigades), the rest being with the three CABs currently in Afghanistan and not forgetting the sixth deployed CAB in South Korea. This was a higher level of commitment than during the Iraqi ‘surge,’ he confirmed. Look for the full story tomorrow (April 20) in the Rotor & Wing Collective.