PEO Aviation / By BG Thomas H. Todd III: Today our Soldiers are challenged with operating in a multi-domain battle space against threats that are rapidly growing in both scale and complexity.
A U.S. Army AH-64E Apache helicopter crew chief assigned to Task Force Tigershark, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division directs pilots during departure for a mission at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan, June 12, 2017. The Tigersharks provide aviation support to U.S. Forces Afghanistan as part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel./ U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY CPT BRIAN HARRIS, 16TH CAB
Our peer competitors have continued to invest in technologies that counter what have traditionally been the strengths of the American military, and they are doing it faster than us, quickly closing the overmatch the Army has enjoyed for the last 70 years.
To keep pace in the face of broader, more lethal threats, along with the rest of the Army, the Aviation Enterprise must adapt its way of thinking, executing, and organizing to enhance our ability to develop technologies and transition them into capabilities so that we remain ready to fight and win across all domains.
PEO Aviation continues to design, develop and deliver a suite of capabilities that enable our Army Aviators to perform critical missions and succeed on the battlefield. PEO Aviation is continually implementing strategies to equip our Soldiers for the future fight against emerging regional and global near-peer adversaries.
We are attuned to the demand signals of the future operational environment and are designing and developing capabilities to provide improved reach, protection and lethality for the future combat aviation brigade (CAB). As we modernize Army Aviation, we are shifting the paradigm of developing and delivering single platforms by horizontally and vertically integrating the Aviation family of systems, and focusing on delivering holistic sets of capability to the combatant commander.
In our fiscally constrained environment where we are tasked with doing more with less, we are challenging our traditional acquisition processes through innovative business arrangements. We are optimizing our resources through multi-year contracting to provide the needed stability in our production efforts to maintain readiness and allow for technology insertion, while leveraging other transaction authorities to collaborate with industry and academia to facilitate rapid pre-production prototyping and delivery of incremental capability as technologies mature.
Delivering Capability to the Soldier
PEO Aviation is optimistic about the future of Army Aviation and is synchronized with the Army’s strategic objectives to accelerate the entire acquisition process (requirements, acquisition, and resourcing) and more rapidly deliver advanced capabilities for our Soldiers. In an era where the characteristics of warfare are dynamically changing, we have yet another opportunity to transform our acquisition system. PEO Aviation is strategically aligned with the Cross Functional Team to synchronize Aviation Enterprise efforts to identify capability gaps, define requirements and transition critical technologies to developed capabilities with increased speed and agility.
PEO Aviation’s priority is to maintain readiness and bridge capability gaps of the current fleet through continuous technology insertions in the near- and mid-terms, while simultaneously setting the conditions to regain overmatch in our future operational environment. Designing and developing systems that are bound by a modular open systems architecture will support future incremental delivery of capability.
Continued investment in S&T efforts is essential to develop the advanced technologies to enable the future vertical lift platforms. PEO Aviation and the S&T community are aligned with the user to ensure S&T investments are mapped to Aviation Enterprise branch priorities. Army Aviation is investing in critical technologies in three primary domains: air vehicle design, mission equipment systems and manned/unmanned-teaming, which are being matured and demonstrated by the S&T community.
The Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator Program (JMR-TD) and Next Gen Tactical Unmanned Aviation System technology demonstrator are two prototyping efforts demonstrating air vehicle capabilities required for the Future Vertical Lift rotary wing aircraft capability sets and the Future Tactical Unmanned Aviation System.
We successfully transitioned the Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine technology developed through the S&T community to the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP). The ITEP Program Manager has successfully released the Request for Proposal for the engineering and materiel development phase of the effort. The engine will provide the critical range and payload capability required for the Apache and Black Hawk aircraft and will reduce the maintenance burden on the Army.
As the lead for materiel development, PEO Aviation will continue to generate best value for the Army by developing and executing acquisition strategies to deliver capabilities that are affordable, producible, reliable and survivable. In today’s complex environment, our Army faces a thinking and adaptive enemy, an enemy that is not bound by process and rapidly integrates new technology. Defeating this enemy requires the Aviation Enterprise to embrace change and focus on delivering modernized capabilities. Working as part of the Aviation Enterprise, PEO Aviation will rapidly adapt and remain singularly focused on delivering innovative solutions for Operational Commanders around the world.
One Team, Army Strong!
BG Thomas H. Todd III is the Army Program Executive Officer for Aviation located at Redstone Arsenal, AL.