Jamesb101.com

commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Boeing will team with Agusta-Westland to offer the AW101 for the NEW Marine One contract…….

He, he, he…..

I have to laugh on this one!

For those of you haven’t been following the Dog….

The AW101...Is the Helo that WON the Marine One contract a few years ago….

The US Navy has NINE 101’s done and sitting around looking for job to do….

Paid for by YOU…The US Taxpayer …..To the tune of $3 Billion ……

But since the Helo’s were modified to the Bush Military Office and US Secret Service specs….(On  Sec Defense Gates watch)

They got too heavy and cost too much…. (Besides even though the rest where going to be completed in the US…that wasn’t enough)

The AW 101…is in service and has three engines…..It is bigger, faster and flys farther than the US Sikorsky S -92 model….

But that wasn’t good enough…..

Obama complained about a kitchen in the helo….

How much would it have cost to UNDESIGN the Bush Kitchen??? …Certainly less than the money they’re gonna spend a

BRAND NEW HELO!!!!!

That won’t be available for at least….. FIVE YEARS!

Am I annoyed about this?

You BET!

From Aviation Week……

The renewed VXX presidential helicopter program heated up again today, as Boeing announced it is teaming with AgustaWestland to offer the AW101 helicopter for the competition.

Boeing says it will secure a license to produce the aircraft from AgustaWestland, which will give Boeing full intellectual property, data and production rights in support of the VXX program. Boeing will be the prime contractor and will design, build and deliver the so-called Boeing 101 helicopter, the company reports.

In April, the U.S. Navy extended its request for information to mid-June, providing enough time for all interested parties to respond. Former competitors Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Lockheed Martin announced April 19 they will team up for the contest. Sikorsky, a United Technologies company, lost the original bid in 2005, when Lockheed was partnered with AgustaWestland. This time around, Sikorsky will offer its H-92 (a hardened version of its S-92) medium-lift helicopter again, with Lockheed performing all the mission systems integration (Aerospace DAILY, Apr. 20).

AgustaWestland’s Italian parent company, Finmeccanica, has been redeveloping its relationship with Boeing on the commercial side as well, Finmeccanica CEO Pier Francesco Guarguaglini said recently. The two companies signed  a strategic memorandum of understanding in 2003, with a high-level steering committee established that met regularly. In May, Finmeccanica told Aviation Week it was looking to expand its product portfolio in the U.S., including the AgustaWestland AW101 transport helicopter with Boeing as a preferred partner (Aerospace DAILY, May 7). The canceled VH-71 is a variant of the AW-101.

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June 7, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , , , | 15 Comments

The President passes his annual medical……

That blood pressure reading!…damn!

The guy IS calm…….

President Obama underwent a 90 minute medical check-up and the doctor who conducted the exam pronounced him in “excellent health” but said he needed to continue his efforts to stay away from cigarettes, according to a White House statement.

“The President is in excellent health and ‘fit for duty,'” said White House Physician Jeffrey Kuhlman said in a statement. “All clinical data indicate he will remain so for the duration of his Presidency.”

Kuhlman said Obama was using “nicotine replacement therapy” in his efforts to kick the habit.

Obama, who frequently plays basketball and golf, also is taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory to deal with occasional pain from chronic tendinitis in his left leg, and Kuhlman also recommended an exercise regimen to help him strengthen his leg muscles.

Kuhlman’s report said Obama’s pulse rate was 56 and his blood pressure 105 over 62, which are considered to be very good numbers. While the report on his cholesterol was also good, Kuhlman recommended that Obama modify his diet to bring down his bad cholesterol which can form plaque that hardens and narrows the arteries.

Obama was also given a virtual colonoscopy, a scan that avoids the more invasive procedure that uses as camera passed into the large intestine, and was found to be free of any sign of cancer

Note.……The Marine One chopper he’s shown boarding….. has be older than the Secret Service agent and Marine driver in the picture……

February 28, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Health, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Travel, Updates | , , , | Leave a comment

The height of idiocy…..The U.S. Navy is re-biding the Marine One Helo contract….

Anyone who has followed me from the P1 to the Dog, knows that easiest way to my ‘Irish’ up is to mentioned the complete screwed up Marine One VH-71 debacle……

The President of the United States travels in a Marine One Helo every time he leaves the White House to get on Air Force One, and when he has to make short trips from local airports, to a location that is more  timely,  comfortable and safely reached by air……

The Army used to handle the detail…but now it’s the exclusive responsiblity of the Marines……

The current fleet of Marine Helo’s are from 20 to 30 years old….and they need to be replaced (Contrary to the CIC Obama’s comments)….

Well….. the government bid the contract and awarded it to a consortium of Lockheed Martin and Augusta/Westland…

….. Here’s the best part…….The Navy owns outright 9 completed VH-71 Helo’s…..they paid $3 Billion for them( and will pay another billion to shut the built down) !

They are the first of a order of 23 to be completed…….

But they are now sitting around with no mission, because the contract was cancelled…..Sec of Defense Gates says because they coast too much….and don’t do what they’re supposed to do….the problem is….. the manufacturer actually did what was asked of them….You see, the White House Military Office ( Under President Bush and  Gate’s watch, mind you ) and the Secret Service added a whole boat load of stuff when they got asked for their input on the helo….so much stuff that …….the added weight necessitated the manufacture to redesign the Helo to carry all the weight….this cost more money and time……

Now Secretary Gates is now pissed because the Helo’s are overweight and over budget…..

So a year ago…Gates decided as a efficiency issue,  and the President as a politcal issue…. that they would cancel the program…..

People….. that makes no damn sense.First of all…the Navy owns 9 brand new Presidential Helo’s…owns…Second of all… while the first block of Helo’s came from Europe..they where pu together in Upstate New York (American Jobs)….Third… the new Helo’s (which almost assuredly will be Sikorsky’s American built S-92’s ….even if they can’t lift a peanut) will not be ready for at least another 5 to 10 years..making the current ones almost 40 years old before they are replaced….Last….. and this is the best!…..it will coast at least $10 to $20 Billion  to replace the $3 to 9 Billion to bring the Lockheed/Augusta Helo’s they have already have……

Wasted time and Money…..

Oh, yea……. the reason the Lockheed /August Helo won was because it had 3 engines, not 2.. like the Sikorsky Helo….It could fly farther, faster, was bigger and was a tested Helo at the time…. which the Sikorsky S-92 was not…..

Wasted time and Money…..

Here’s the link on the new contract bid…..The whole damn thing makes me sick…….

Here’s links on th previous posts on the nightmare……

Link……

LInk#2…..

Link#3…..

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In defense of foreign originated U.S. Military Helicopters…..The U.S. Army’s UH-72 Lakota buy…..

If you’ve been here for a while you know I’m on the case about the governments refusal to put the Augusta/Westlands and Lockheed/Martin VH-71A Marine One Helicopterinto service……The chopper, meant as new generation transportation of the nations Commander-in- Chief , is limping along with 9 aircraft completed  and paid for …but unwanted by the President and Secretary of Defense….who wants to spend money to re-bid a new helicopter and start from scratch…..mind you the current chopper are almost as old as the presdient…and most the choppers drivers are younger than the birds they are flying……

Well, the Army’s newest Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is the Eurocpter EC145…this chopper initially build in Europen , was develivered by the manufacturer on time and on budget…..as a ‘off the shelf’ product (unlike the Marine One VH-71A which experienced mission creep and grew in cost and equipment)…….

The Army will receive 345 aircraft through 2017, they may end up ordering more…….

This program is  a model of how to bid and contract for simple aircraft that get the job done….(the Lakota is to be used for non-combat missions by the Army and the Army National Guard units…a few will go to the Navy for pilot training)…..

Why can’t they do it right with the VH-71A?…..forget the bells and whistles….

Save the tax payers money and go with the best choppers you already have and paid for….the Lakota is a firm example of a foreign chopper that is now built completely in the United States with American’s getting paid to build them…..

Maybe they should give the presdient’s helicopter transportation back to the Army……..

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Military, Politics, Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

In defense of foreign originated U.S. Military Helicopters…..The U.S. Army's UH-72 Lakota buy…..

If you’ve been here for a while you know I’m on the case about the governments refusal to put the Augusta/Westlands and Lockheed/Martin VH-71A Marine One Helicopterinto service……The chopper, meant as new generation transportation of the nations Commander-in- Chief , is limping along with 9 aircraft completed  and paid for …but unwanted by the President and Secretary of Defense….who wants to spend money to re-bid a new helicopter and start from scratch…..mind you the current chopper are almost as old as the presdient…and most the choppers drivers are younger than the birds they are flying……

Well, the Army’s newest Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is the Eurocpter EC145…this chopper initially build in Europen , was develivered by the manufacturer on time and on budget…..as a ‘off the shelf’ product (unlike the Marine One VH-71A which experienced mission creep and grew in cost and equipment)…….

The Army will receive 345 aircraft through 2017, they may end up ordering more…….

This program is  a model of how to bid and contract for simple aircraft that get the job done….(the Lakota is to be used for non-combat missions by the Army and the Army National Guard units…a few will go to the Navy for pilot training)…..

Why can’t they do it right with the VH-71A?…..forget the bells and whistles….

Save the tax payers money and go with the best choppers you already have and paid for….the Lakota is a firm example of a foreign chopper that is now built completely in the United States with American’s getting paid to build them…..

Maybe they should give the presdient’s helicopter transportation back to the Army……..

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Military, Politics, Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The House authorizes $100 million on the Lockheed/Augusta VH-71A Marine One Helo!…..

In the just passed House appropriations bill for the Defense Department…. they left $125 million in for the Marine One program…..

But dig this!????

$100 million is for the Lockheed Martin/AugutaWestland company to restart work on finishing up bringing the nine VH-71A is the government (Navy/Marines) owns to specifications required…and $25 million to shut the program down????

He, he, he…if Gates is so insistent on rebidding the Presidents helicopter then go ahead…with the money the House added…Lockheed can re-bid the VH-71A in the competition and win since their chopper won’t cost the government a cent (and will be cheaper than any thing it’s only competitor Sikorsky would offer)…..and they can be delivered yesterday……

……all they would need to do is to built nine more and the contract would be done…..Isn’t that better than waiting for another ten years and 10 billion for Sikorsky to make something ?

Note:….This is a small win for New York State  (Owego) jobs and its upstate House member Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)….

December 12, 2009 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Media, Military, Politics, The Economy, Updates | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pentagon and the White House will negotiate another try at a Marine One helicopter….

Those of you have followed me here about the Presidents Helicopter debacle,  know that I have watched with horror as the White House, and Pentagon throw away your money, for a new presidential helicopter, while we have nine new Agusta-Westland VH-71A’s sitting around, doing nothing..

..the whole thing stinks….

The miliary’s acquisition chief, Ashton Carter, went on record Monday, with the company line (aimed at the House which wants to try save those 9 birds they have), that there will be a new round of bids for a new Marine One helo, to replace the thirty year old ones the president travels in now…..In order to show that they got something out of writing off the $3 billion….Carter says that they will try to use off the shelf  technology this time….

My question….

Are they gonna recreate the aerial tanker re-bid…and just take whatever the american bidder Sikorsky throws at them, or are they gonna give Agusta -Westland a chance?…

negociateCan  I get some of the money they threw away?….

……And what are they going do with the nine choppers that they bought for $3 billion?

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Government, Media, Military, Politics | , | 2 Comments

Marine One update……..

The Senate has passed the plan for the basic 2010 Defense Bill…the House finished theirs a few weeks ago (10/6/09)……both have sent their plans up to the White House for the Presidents signature……Now both the House and Senate will committee their versions of the bills to come up with the final draft , which will then go back to the president for his signature, and funding release from Congress……..

The VH-71A (Marine One Helo) program has been terminated by the Defense Department…Lockheed has laid off 700 employees in Owego, NY….the nine helicopters that the Navy paid for are in storage……House Member Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Michael Acuri (D-NY) , along with House Defense Chair, John Murtha (D-PA) has tried to find a way to keep the program going……They have been advertised  a position that it makes sense to move on the existing helo’s……so, Murtha has asked for $485 million to continue the program….the House has come up with $55 million to end the program and $30 million to re-open bidding a new aircraft……The Senate has authorized no funds (but Senator’s Schumer, and Gillibrand will push to have something done, if they can)……if Murtha can get a tacit agreement from Obama to have Gates to take a second look at the program, with a thought on saving costs…the House would push for the  full $485 million to rehire the Upstate New York workers, and resurrect the program…..if not, the Navy and Marines will start with a $1.3 billion  fix-up program for the current fleet (incidentally, I saw the Presidents helo’s this afternoon on their way to Connecticut with the CIC for  fund raising stop).

The whole thing has cooled down a bit …and the presidents threat of a veto, if any money was in the forthcoming bill for the program seems to be gone…..

This link is a very good back rounder on the whole thing since the summer……

October 23, 2009 Posted by | Military, Politics, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A replacement Marine One helicopter is still on the table…….

Over at Politics One the guys know how I feel about replacing the current fleet of Marine One helicopters….But I’ll repeat my argument because I am overjoyed that the  House has held on, and kept money in the budget to go on with replacing the current aging helicopters…….

The Current Marine One helicopter fleet is made up of several aircraft, of which only two types of choppers actually carry the president. The primary one is the Sikorsky VH-3D, that was put into service starting in 1962 thru 1978……The newer choppers are  Sikorsky VH-60, acquired beginning in 1989…….As you can see these airframes have been in service for almost 30 years!

While the helicopter’s that carry the Commander – in – Chief are kept in pristine condition…the fact remains that the airframes are old, labor intensive and tired……no other aircraft with the service life of these helo’s would be allowed to transport the President of the United States……The President’s plane, Air Force One is  almost 19 years old…and plans are being made to replace those two VC-25\’s which are Boeing 747-200B type aircraft, in the future ( they will be replaced with the new B-747-800 series aircraft).

About two years ago the Marines had a competition for a new Helo between the Sikorsky S-92 and the Lockheed/Augusta-Westland AW101……the L/AW101 won the competition walking away…..With three engines instead of the S-92’s two…..The AW101, a bigger, and roomer air craft,  flew farther and faster , and has an added safety factor of an additional engine. In addition, while the S-92 was a completely new program…the AW Merlin, the English version, had a good number of air hours under its belt when it was picked…….

From the start Sikorsky reverted to a’ buy american’ rational to try to derail the winning choice…..Even while the United States was pushing the American made F-35 against other foreign fighter jets around the world  to countries looking to buy new generation fighters…….

The bad guys in this was the White House Military Office..the place that controls anything military that transports the president, and the Secret Service. Both developed  ‘mission creep’ on the Marine One airframe…..The new Helo , which would only be used to transport the CIC no more than 15 minutes anywhere, was asked to have an executive wash room, an Air Force One comparable communications suite, and other amenities. Of course,  this stuff adds weight to the aircraft…..and weight means a sturdier airframe, which means more weight…bigger rotor blades, stronger engine, etc…all of this stuff means more money…..I will repeat, that these add on’s came from the White House Military Office, and the Secret Service…..not the manufacture (this scenario has been confirmed by the Navy)……so the cost of the contract balloons to $400 million a helo!……

Well, the buy american people now scream that there is a cost over run…….

People…… I like Sec Gates…And I like the President…but on this one they are wrong……..

To cancel this program is asinine…..and clearly wrong…..

The CIC is riding around in a chopper that is almost as old as he is……The Lockheed helo’s are clearly superior to the Sikorsky model’s…..and the government already owns six choppers right now…..the choppers are received in Upstate NY form Europe, and then American workers outfit the AW101’s which have been renamed, the VH-71 Kestrel, by the Marines, and the Navy…

Finally…the Navy will rebid the WHOLE CONTRACT soon because guess what?……The president needs new helicopters!

The last straw is some knuckleheads think that the new bids will be cheaper than keeping the six choppers…….. They already have …….And adding six more to complete the fleet!

Am I missing something here?????

Or is this a round about way of saying we’re going to give the president the loser and the clearly inferior chopper because it’s built by Sikorsky (hint, hint)……

If the President and Sec of Defense veto this …they are doing the American taxpayer, and themselves, a great disservice……..

Note:……for a more in-depth analysis of the situation I have described please check this link to Rotor and Wing……I don’t think I missed the boat, er helicopter here at all…something simply doesn’t make sense on this….

October 16, 2009 Posted by | Military, Politics, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

President Obama speaks to veterans on the Military……….

I just got finished watching the Commander in Chief doing a major speech on our military to veterans….The speech was very good…..He touched on his theme of change and the military …touching on the costs, the equipment , the two wars and his pledge to take his job seriously.  He also tied healthcare into the speech, along with not forgetting the nations veterans. He made a point to announce the increases in the services to cover the increased missions. As I said the speech was good….But I will take exception to one thing in his speech…..Marine One…….Obama went on to do a story about the chopper having the ability to serve up a meal for the Chief executive. I got that. But…. I don’t agree with Obama and Gates in canceling the new Marine One contract…actually, I feel he’s doing this country a great disservice. The United States government has 9 completed helicopters, after paying $3 Billion for them…..Congress has appropriated another $400 million to help pay for no more than 6 more to give the Marine ‘s a total of 15 brand new choppers……the total cost to finish getting the current new chopper fleet would be about $4.5 Billon, and the new chopper’s would be inservice in a year and a half……. If the program is indeed cancelled……the CIC would continue to fly in 30 year old choppers, that would not be replaced until at least 10 years from now, ( and another contract would be bid in a  few months! ) at a cost of  more than $20 billion dollars!…….Now that does that make any sense?…….take out the extra stuff like stoves or microwaves, and save the country money and take the new choppers you already have ………and thank you Mr President for not forgetting the ones who have served for us all………….

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Military, Politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment