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Wed May 1, 2013, 10:17 AM

Sec Army McHugh Says No Choice But Accept Apache Transmission Swaps; Line Would Have Shut Down


Army Secretary John McHugh gets a briefing at Fort Rucker, Ala., the Army's helicopter center, in March.

Sec Army McHugh Says No Choice But Accept Apache Transmission Swaps; Line Would Have Shut Down
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Published: April 30, 2013

WASHINGTON: The Secretary of the Army defended today what he admitted was "an unconventional approach" to fielding the service's cutting-edge AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter, saying the only alternative to the current complex workaround would have been to "shut the line down" for a time.


"What the hell IS going on?" McHugh interjected when I began to ask him what was up with the new helicopters, sending a ripple of laughter around the table at this morning's Defense Writers' Group breakfast. We've described this process as a shell game. "I might use a different phrasing," McHugh said with a chuckle.

"We were facing a very challenging problem, as you know," he said. "Boeing's subcontractor Northstar (Northstar Aerospace) went bankrupt... It wasn't able to produce the transmissions for the Apache in the kind of timely way that would've been necessary under the contract."

"Frankly, the one option other than the path we're on would've been pretty much to shut the line down," McHugh went on. "That would have killed the delivery of the systems to the Army" -- we presume he means temporarily, until transmission production could catch up -- "and it certainly wouldn't have inured to the economic beneift of either Boeing or the subcontractors' efforts to try to get its fiscal house in order" -- since stopping all work and all payments would make it even harder for Northstar to get back on its feet and making transmissions. "It would've laid off the workers totally," McHugh added. And as Congress has told the Army repeatedly when the service suggested shutting down armored vehicle production for a few years and then restarting it, it's often cheaper in the long term to keep a production line "hot," even at the price of short-term inefficiency, than to try to turn it on and off again.

unhappycamper comment: And this explains why Congress keeps ordering crap the military does not want.

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Reply Sec Army McHugh Says No Choice But Accept Apache Transmission Swaps; Line Would Have Shut Down (Original post)
unhappycamper May 2013 OP
Myrina May 2013 #1

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Wed May 1, 2013, 10:25 AM

1. Can't they learn to make something else?

Is there really no R&D at Martin Marietta, Lockheed or Boeing that they could alter their course from building weapons to building stuff that will help the US infrastructure?


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