By Sofia BledsoeJune 14, 2013
Representatives from the Army and Boeing have signed a five-year multibillion-dollar contract for the production and delivery of 155 CH-47F Chinook helicopters with options for 60 additional aircraft.
A signing ceremony was held at the Boeing production facility in Ridley Park, Pa. The five-year, $4.9 billion value of the multiyear agreement cements $810 million in cost savings for the government.
The ceremony was attended by several local community leaders. But the true VIPs who were recognized at the event were the production workers who seldom see the end result of delivering their product.
"This team effort in which you are a part, 18,000 strong across the country in 38 states, with over 200 suppliers, we count on you to do what you do every day for our Soldiers and for Army aviation," Col. Robert Barrie, Cargo Helicopters project manager, said.
Hundreds of shift workers at the ceremony had an opportunity to meet their customers and leaders behind the team.
"If you ever wonder if what you do is important, I'm here to tell you, there are crews in Afghanistan returning safely from a mission right now because of what you do," Barrie said.
Barrie, the project manager since May 16, gave much of the credit to his predecessor, Col. Bob Marion; Lt. Col. Reese Hauenstein, product manager for CH-47F, and Cathy Dickens,
deputy commander of the Aviation and Missile Command.
Dickens previously served as executive director for the Army Contracting Command-Redstone.
"I commend this team for staying focused," Dickens said. "When I look at this great work force, I see that the historic savings for the Army is a culmination of all the initiatives over the past decade that you have been part of, in shaping an affordable program for the Army. So thank you so much for what you do every day."
A mixture of U.S. and foreign military sales aircraft were also procured using 22 of the aircraft options exercised with the first-year base for a total obligation value of $1.3 billion.
Much of the savings is attributed to the MYII Contract Evaluation Team relying on updated actual cost data provided by Boeing. Team members responsible for the success in the negotiations process included representatives from the Defense Contract Management Agency, Defense Contract Audit Agency, Cargo Helicopters Project Office, and ACC-Redstone Pricing and Cargo Contracts divisions.
Production began on the F model Chinook in 1996. And in October 2011, Boeing submitted the multiyear proposal to the Army.
The CH-47 Chinook, the Army's only heavy-lift helicopter, is a critical asset for transporting troops, supplies, and providing various combat support and combat service support operations.
The CH-47F incorporates reliability and maintainability improvement modifications such as a new machined airframe, vibration reduction, corrosion protection, digital source collectors, T55-GA-714A engine, Common Avionics Architecture System, Air Warrior, Common Missile Warning System, Infrared Suppression System, enhanced air transportability, Digital Automatic Flight Control System and an Extended Range Fuel System II. It is compatible with joint digital connectivity requirements.
The Army's current procurement objective for the CH-47F is 464 aircraft. Current modernization programs include the new Cargo On/Off Loading System, which will provide a way to quickly load and unload aircraft and is easily reconfigurable in flight. The project office is also working on the Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade that will add about 2,000 pounds of lift capability in high/hot conditions and will be interchangeable across all Chinook platforms.
"Every day we know that the Chinook is making a big difference in saving lives," Dickens said. "There are a lot of people that will look at the press releases and see the savings, and they will be very impressed. But what they won't realize is that in order to achieve this kind of a deal, it requires a team of dedicated people, working countless hours over the past several years to make this happen.
"I call this team the model for proposal development and evaluation because what really happened is you came together and every aspect of what you needed to do, you did it in a true partnership, and that's really what made the difference. I know that this is a culmination of the total dedication of this team, and I'm very proud of each one of you."