Why do people laugh and grin at our press conferences?
Why are senior leadership met with not-infrequent contempt from members of Congress?
Why do the smartest JOs seem to also be the most cynical?
Well, it is one thing to have trouble costing out a huge warship like the DDG(sic)-1000. You can even cut people some slack with something as complicated as the F-22/35. But ... via Brendan McGarry;
The Navy’s MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned chopper developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. ... had “critical” cost overruns of more than 50 percent over original projections, according to a summary of the Defense Department’s latest Selected Acquisition Reports.Nothing says "highly successful program" more than being cancelled.
The Navy has already nixed plans to buy 17 more Fire Scouts over the next five years as part of its budget request for fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1. The move left the future of the program unclear.
Warren Comer, a spokesman for Falls Church, Va.-based Northrop, said Fire Scout has proven to be “highly successful” program. The company since 2011 has made three significant upgrades to the platform, including endurance, weapons and radar enhancements to support various types of missions, he said.
“These upgrades, originally contracted as separate rapid deployment efforts, are now being incorporated into the baseline program of record,” Comer said in an e-mail. “This allows the Fire Scout system to spend greater time supporting missions with fewer aircraft.”
The Navy had planned to buy a total of 126 of the aircraft, including seven prototypes and 119 production models, for an overall cost of $3.47 billion – a 33-percent increase from the original estimate of $2.6 billion, according to the Pentagon report.
The increase in unit cost was “due to an increased requirement for warfighter capabilities of the system and an overall reduction in the total air vehicle quantities being procured,” from 177 to 126, or 51 aircraft, the document states. Specific unit cost figures weren’t given.
The Navy stopped production of the MQ-8B after buying 30 of the aircraft with the Schweizer 333 airframe, according to a separate Pentagon test report from earlier this year. The service had considered switching to the Bell 407 airframe for the MQ-8C, another version of the drone based in part on requirements from U.S. Special Operations Command.
While the service has successfully integrated the Advanced Precision Weapon Kill System, which converts unguided Hydra rockets into precision-guided missiles, on the Fire Scout, “additional sea-based testing is required before the Navy can field a sea-based, weaponized unmanned aerial system,” the test report states.
The whole helo-drone program was a good experiment, but as with many experiments as of late - it was as oversold as the verbiage in your #1 MP LT's FITREP.
Overpromise and underdeliver; never a good business model.