A question of utility
Whitaker, Michael J.
Parry, Samuel H.
Caldwell, William J.
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In accordance with the 1988 Army Aviation Modernization Plan, the Army entered contractual agreement to begin acquisition of 2,253 UH-60 utility helicopters to replace approximately two-thirds of the 3,147 UH-1 aircraft destined for retirement. The plan foresaw the newer aircraft assuming the majority of the utility mission with the residual balance of UH-1 helicopters assuming a supplementary role. Because of subsequent budgetary considerations, the decision was reached to stop purchasing replacement aircraft after the close of Fiscal Year 91. By that time the Army's total procurement will have reached 1,147 aircraft, considerably short of the established target. Army planners now face the difficult task of reconfiguring the utility fleet with available assets to satisfy future service needs. Threat analysis now suggests that the most likely use of US military force resides in the low intensity conflict (LIC) theater. Recognizing that the UH-60 was designed to prosecute mechanized war, the question of its application to LIC rests largely on speculation. Now, before irrevocable decisions are made to retire the majority of the UH-1 fleet, the Army must determine which of the two aircraft will better serve our future needs. As a preliminary comparison a semi-Markov process was formulated to forecast performance of both aircraft in desert, mountain and jungle environments during day and night conditions. The model incorporated segments from five standard utility helicopter missions into a Markov chain and predicated eight different measures associated with survivability and mission accomplishment.
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