01 Apr 05. David Harvey, U.S. Correspondent for Shephard Press announced details of the U.S. Army’s 2005 Avaition Modernization Plan. Aviation’s strength is its ability to deploy quickly, maneuver ra idly, focus tremendous combat power, and achieve surprise and positional advantage. It is instrumental in achieving simultaneous, distributed, continuous, combined arms air-ground operations. With its manned and unmanned assets, aviation organizations develop situations out of contact, maneuver to positions of advantage, engage enemy forces beyond the range of their weapons, destroy them with precision fires, and provide close support. Its inherent mobility, flexibility, agility, lethality, and versatility are instrumental in enabling the air-ground task force commander to conduct decisive joint operations. Aviation conducts maneuver, maneuver support, and maneuver sustainment operations across the spectrum of conflict. Highly skilled and knowledgeable aviation Soldiers employing aviation systems from entry operations to decisive action provide a significant contribution to the quality of firsts (see first, understand first, act first, and finish decisively).
Aviation operations develop the common operating picture (CQP), shield the maneuver force, shape the battlefield, extend the tactical and operational reach of the maneuver commander, and sustain the force. Aviation is critical to the Army’s stability and support requirements, to include the homeland security requirements of our nation. Modernization and sustainment of Army aviation ensures these capabilities are maintained.
One of the most compelling arguments for the Army’s Aviation Modernization Program is contained in our warfighting contributions to the current Global War on Terrorism. The realities of the current operating environment call for a distributed, non-linear battlefield which leads to an increased reliance on Army Aviation. This results in a disproportionate deployment of Aviation assets and an operational OPTEMPO of more than four times the historical norms which the Army has traditionally used as guidelines and metrics for establishing Life Cycle Management (LCM) coats, programs and aircraft replacement. Combat losses, never considered in our peacetime LCM models, exacerbate Army Aviation’s requirement for a robust and accelerated modernization program.
Aviation modernization and recapitalization of existing aviation systems projected to remain in the fleet into the 2015-25 time frame are essential to supporting current as well as future operations. The urgent need to address the steadily deteriorating condition of the aviation fleet and accelerate RC modernization is being addressed through an Aviation transformation plan.
• Accelerates AC and RC aviation modernization efforts –retains faith with the RC
• Aligns aviation structure and resources to comply with Future Force requirements
• Accelerates divestiture of non-modernized aircraft (AH-1, UH-1, OH-58D and
• Restructures and standardizes attack and lift formations across the force
• Adjusts RC stationing and alignment to mitigate near-term risk of reduced AC lift assets
• Leverages new training technologies to maintain crew proficiency
• Invests in improvements for aircraft reliability/maintainability
• Capitalizes on SOF capabilities
Fielding the AH-64D Longbow Apache is well underway. Recapitalization programs for the CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk begin production in the near term. Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter will replace the OH-58D. Utility Fixed Wing is modernizing its current turboprop fleet (C-12 and RC-12) with the Global Air Traffic Management system (GATM) as well as other safety and cockpit management systems. This will keep these aircraft relevant while the Army procures the Future Cargo Aircraft (FCA) to replace legacy C-23 Sherpas. The Army is successfully retiring aging and obsolete aircraft from the force, while i