Senate Panel Questions Apache Swap

Washington Report

(July 22, 2014) The Senate Appropriations Committee last week questioned the Army's plan to remove all AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard and wants a cost analysis of what is called the aviation restructure initiative.

The lawmakers also included in the fiscal 2015 defense appropriations bill $144 million to buy more Apaches "only for Army National Guard," according to InsideDefense. It also includes $16.2 million for UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Guard.

The Army's aviation restructure plan would retire all OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and move all Apaches from the Guard to the active component. The service says the savings would be about $12 billion.

The Senate committee, however, wants to see the math. A committee report charges that the Army has "not considered the full fiscal implications" of the plan and wants the Army to conduct a full cost analysis of it.

The report says the Army's cost estimate "fails to account for increased costs to procure and maintain additional Lakota helicopters, to train the Army Active Duty and Army National Guard pilots for the new missions, and to operate and maintain Apaches and Black Hawks."