Monday, March 05, 2007

A Bargain at Three Times the Price

I was reading about an Air Force procurement program for a next-generation combat, search and rescue helicopter. The contract is currently awarded to Boeing, and is expected to be worth 10-15 billion dollars for 140 aircraft.

For the math-impaired, that works out to about $71-$107 million dollars per aircraft. A not-inconsiderable sum. Especially when you consider that it's an upgrade of the CH-47 Chinook, an aircraft that's been in service since 1966. The feature list for the aircraft includes fancy sounding items like "terrain-following-radar", "foward-looking infrared" and "net-ready cockpit". Pretty impressive, until you look around and find this: An MH-47D Chinook, special-forces equipped, already comes with FLIR.

No wonder the GAO is going to pay close attention to this one. Paying $10bil to buy a minor variant of aircraft we already have sounds like pork to me.

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