By Justin Bachman / bloomberg.com / May 17, 2017, 4:00 AM EDT: Defense Contractors are taking very different Approaches to fixing America’s broken-down bird problem.
Infantrymen in Vietnam jump from a Bell UH-1 Iroquois, also known as a “Huey,” in 1967.Photographer: Bettmann/Getty Images
The popular view of U.S. Army aviation owes a lot to Hollywood. Think of an Army helicopter, and the below is probably what comes to mind—courtesy of dozens of films such as Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and even Good Morning, Vietnam Reprinted: bloomberg.com / May 17, 2017, 4:00 AM EDT
The Bell UH-1 “Huey” helicopter was a U.S. staple in Vietnam, while the 1980s-era Boeing Co. AH-64 Apache attack chopper was the first combat aircraft to fire a shot in the 1991 invasion of Iraq. Sikorsky’s UH-60 Black Hawk, the Army’s Huey replacement, has been a workhorse for troop transport and American special operations missions, including an unconfirmed stealthy version used in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
For the most part, however, these aircraft are aged and require immense maintenance to stay aloft, which is costly to taxpayers and dents combat capability. The Pentagon, meanwhile, has been struggling to maintain aviation readiness across all service branches, with helicopters among the worst offenders. As a result, the military is working overtime to find a less burdensome way forward for what it calls vertical lift aircraft.
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