Photo by Master Sgt. Mark Olsen
The new U.S. military spending law calls on the U.S. Army and the U.S. National Guard Bureau to give Congress plans for upgrading Sikorsky Aircraft UH-60s in their fleets. President Obama on Nov. 25 signed into law the bill, which reflected some compromise between the White House and Congress. The National Defense Authorization Act provides the legal authority for the Defense Dept. and its subordinate organizations to spend money in fiscal 2016 (which ends Sept. 30, 2016). Among the bill’s provisions is one directing the secretary of the Army to report to Congress by March 1 on options for accelerating replacement of all UH-60As assigned to the Army National Guard by the end of fiscal 2020. The options include the use of newly built H-60Ms, conversion of A models to H-60Ls and conversion of L models to UH-60Vs. Congress also wants the secretary to discuss potential effects of such acceleration on planned UH-60A replacements for the regular Army and others and also “industrial base limitations that may affect such acceleration.” The new law also directs the chief of the National Guard by late May to “issue guidance regarding the fielding of upgraded” Black Hawks to Army National Guard units. The law says that guidance must prioritize fielding to units whose UH-60s have the highest flight hours and annual usage rates.