Black Hawks in Need of Modernization
The final piece to be revealed in the defense legislative puzzle is the Defense Appropriations bill. Thus far, the Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to approve their version of the defense spending bill, while the House is moving towards full floor consideration, most likely next week. In the meantime, we continue to wait to see what funding the Senate Appropriations Committee on Defense (SAC-D) will provide for FY13. Some areas authorized by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) regarding the National Guard include:
- Funding to halt the retirement, reduction, transfer or preparation to transfer Air Force aircraft.
- Basic Allowance for housing for Full-Time National Guard Transition
- Procurement of additional CH-47F Chinook helicopters
- Procurement of additional Abrams Tanks
- Extended TRICARE coverage
But, one area of focus for appropriations is the much needed funding designated for Army National Guard Black Hawk modernization.
Today, the NGAUS legislative team contacted members and staff of SAC-D asking them to support funding for Army National Guard Black Hawk modernization. In a letter to the Committee Chairman and Ranking Member last month, NGAUS asked for an additional $199 million for ten new UH-60M helicopters and an additional $20 million for UH-60 A-to-L conversion for the Army National Guard. This inclusion would mirror the House Appropriations bill.
The Army National Guard uses Black Hawks both for domestic and international operations. Without this language from the Senate, the Army National Guard will be looking at operating 'A'-model Black Hawks that will be almost 40 years old by the time they are retired.
So readers, contact your Senators to let them know you support the modernization of this critical equipment for the Army National Guard!