(Participating were Les Brownlee, acting secretary of the Army; Claude M. Bolton, Jr., assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology; Army Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, chief of staff, U.S. Army; Army Lt. Gen. Richard A. Cody, deputy chief of staff, G-3. U.S. Army.; and Army National Guard Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief, National Guard Bureau. Slides shown during the briefing can be found on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb2004/d20040224armav.pdf. A photo taken during the briefing is located at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/Feb2004/040223-D-9880W-004.html.)
Brownlee: Good afternoon. I'm Les Brownlee, acting secretary of the Army, along with the chief of staff of the Army, General Peter Schoomaker.
We're here today to announce a major restructure and revitalization of Army aviation resulting from a study initiated within the Army several months ago. This study reflects the lessons learned and experiences gained by the Army's recent two-and-a-half years of combat in the global war on terror as well as the operational environments envisioned in the foreseeable future.
Briefly, the study affirms that we should continue to provide the most effective survivability enhancements to our rotary and fixed-wing aircraft as soon as possible. The study also indicates that we should upgrade, modernize and rebuild our attack, utility and cargo helicopter fleets, and replace our light observation and scout/attack helicopters as rapidly as possible.
In addition, we must replace the older helicopters in our fleet, especially in the National Guard and Army Reserve. We must ensure the National Guard and Army Reserve have the capabilities necessary to accomplish the missions they are performing with great dedication and commitment in the war on terror in numerous deployments around the world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to meet their responsibilities for homeland defense as well.
To accomplish this in the near term will require a substantial investment in Army aviation. We've examined closely our resourcing plans for aviation and concluded that some of the capabilities those funds would provide are no longer consistent with the changed operational environment. Therefore, General Schoomaker and I have recommended that the Comanche helicopter program be terminated and those resources reallocated to restructuring and revitalizing Army aviation. With the approval of the president and the secretary of Defense, we began briefing key members of Congress this morning.
It's critical to the Army now, as we're at war, and for the future that the funds that were identified for the Comanche program in the fiscal year 2005 budget, as well as those funds in the future year's defense plan, remain with Army aviation. We are preparing now to submit an amendment to the fiscal year 2005 budget currently before the Congress to reflect those changes.
Our revised plans for the next several years, out to fiscal year 2011, include the procurement of almost 800 new aircraft for the active and Reserve components and the enhancement, upgrade, modernization and recapitalization of over 400 -- 1,400 aircraft.
We will retain relevant technologies developed in the Comanche program and our technological base, and we'll pursue research and development more applicable to future aviation initiatives, to include the joint multi-role helicopter, the joint airlift aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.
We also believe that the helicopter industry will benefit, both now and in the future, from these actions and programs.
I want to emphasize that this is an Army initiative which emerged from a study conducted within the Army. We will take these actions concurrent with a reorganization of our aviation brigades throughout the Army, which will standardize their structure and provide the modularity and flexibility we must have to achieve the joint and expeditionary capabilities that are so essential to the Army's role now and in the future.
General Schoomaker and I have made the recommendation together, are in -- and are in total agreement on this plan to revitalize Army aviation.
Now I'd like to turn the podium over to the chief of staff, General Pete Schoomaker. And following General Schoomaker's remarks, we'll take a few questions before turning this over to Lieutenant General Cody, our G-3, who will go into more detail on the restructuring of Army aviation.
Schoomaker: Okay. Thanks, Mr. Secretary.
I'll be very brief here. I'd just like to make a couple comments to emphasize some of the points in Secretary Brownlee's statement.
First of all, very, very important to emphasize this is an Army initiative as a result of our studies, and it is about fixing Army aviation for the future, for today and for tomorrow, not just about terminating Comanche. It's a big decision. We know it's a big decision. But it's the right decision. And I think when you take a look at the specifics, and as General Cody speaks, you'll come to that conclusion.
You have to -- I'd like to emphasize that it's important that we all maintain this in the full context of the kind of restructuring and the other initiatives that we have have going on in the Army -- modularity; the balancing and restructuring of the active component and the Reserve components -- and take a look at it in that context, along with some of the other focus areas that we have announced.
This also -- a very important point here -- leverages many aspect of special operations aviation that they -- and progress that's been made over the years that we can bring into the conventional fore. And I'd like to reemphasize the fact that much of what we've gained out of Comanche we can push forward into the tech base for future joint rotorcraft kinds of capabilities as we look further out.
Finally, I'd like to say that I'm extremely pleased that we've got the assurance of the president of the United States and the secretary of Defense that this termination of Comanche and the resources that are available over this current program will be applied to the Army aviation program, which is very, very important to us.
So anyway, I would -- I think we're prepared to take some questions if you'd like. And go ahead, sir.
Brownlee: I think you were first.
Q: Yes, in terminating this program, have you decided that it simply was too expensive and it would've been obsolete by the time it was put out there in any kind of significant numbers?
Brownlee: Yeah, I think we looked at several things. One was, we looked very closely at the operational environment in which we're currently operating and have operated in the last two and a half years and what we could see in the foreseeable future, and decided that it was inconsistent with the capabilities that were in the Comanche as opposed to those things we could do to the rest of Army aviation with the resources if we applied it to other aircraft.
Schoomaker: I would say, when you take a look at it from a purely business standpoint, we have about a little over $14 billion in the program out to 2011, and if you take a look at the in excess of $100 billion worth of inventory we have in the current fleet and the capability that we can achieve out of the investment we have there vice 121 Comanches, it makes a lot of sense to pull this over and to take ourselves forward. And General Cody will brief things like Block III Apache and some other things, and you'll see the capability you accomplish.
Q: This helicopter's been envisioned for the last decade, even when you were on the Senate Armed Services Committee, this thing was envisioned as the quarterback of the digital battlefield, the "Tom Brady of helicopters," for football fans. (Laughter.) Now when you lose this quarterback for future combat system and all the other systems you've had that this was going to be dependent on, where do you go for the quarterback?
Brownlee: Tony, it's a good question. Let me give little intro and then I'll let Pete fill in.
First of all, the Block III Apache, which we will now be able to do in some numbers, will have all of the capabilities that we would have built into the Comanche with the exception of one, and that's the low observability. And if you look at the operational environment in which we're now operating and the one we think we'll be operating in the future, we think that is not where we should put our focus.
Schoomaker: And I agree with that. I think you will see that the quarterback capability is picked up in what we want to do and it also provides a survivable aircraft. To have Comanche survivable and to do the kinds of things we'd have to do in the current threat environment, we have to add things to Comanche, which takes away from its primary stealth capability and also requires an investment of several billion dollars to do that.
Q: Low observable is less of a priority now given the current war-fighting environment you see over the next decade?
Schoomaker: If you take a look at when Comanche was envisioned, starting in 1983, and you take a look at the threat that we faced at that time and the kind of battlefield that we envisioned, Comanche made a lot of sense, but it makes less sense today as we go forward.
Q: General, can I ask you, is this a case of technology outstripping the program or bypassing the program, or is it a case of the threat changing enough to make the program --
Schoomaker: I think it's both and it's more. I think it has to do with the contemporary operating environment, what we envision the future operating environment to be, it's got to do with the threat, it's got to do with emerging technologies and it's got to do with just the overall context in which this helicopter will fly.
Q: Sir, just if I could follow up on these questions, can you give a sense of -- you mentioned that the threat has changed and you need different types of investments. Where, specifically? What types of rotocraft are you going to be investing in? What sort of technologies that you feel are more appropriate than the Comanche investment?
Schoomaker: If we just let General Cody brief you, I feel he'll brief you in significant detail upon what we're going to do.
Brownlee: We can take one more question.
Q: Both of you have emphasized that this is an Army initiative. What is it that you're trying to prevent us from writing? That Donald Rumsfeld shoved this down your throat?
Brownlee: No, we --
Q: Why is it important to you to emphasize that?
Brownlee: Let me add two points that I think are important. The study, which was part of an array of studies which General Schoomaker directed when he arrived, was a study focused on fixing Army aviation. As the people who were doing the study got into it, they determined that what we needed to do was significant, and as we looked at our aviation budget over the years of the program, about 40 percent of that budget for aviation was devoted to Comanche. So when you looked at what we could do with those resources and the capabilities we could provide our troops within that time frame, it just became apparent that was the right decision.
Q: (Off mike.) -- getting the reasons for it, but I think it's interesting that you're both emphasizing that this is an Army initiative -- (Inaudible.).
Schoomaker: Well, I think if you take a look at what's been in the media recently and all of the emphasis on studies been initiated from different places outside of the Army, it would be logical to conclude that perhaps this was something that we didn't want to do. And I want to make clear that this is consistent with what we've done; this has been a study that's been ongoing here for over six months.
Q: Why weren't you able to do it before the budget came out three weeks ago?
Brownlee: Well, we just weren't through with the study of it. You know, we'd be the first to admit our timing could be better here. Once we determined that it was the right thing to do, we just believed we should go ahead and do it.
Q: Now the Connecticut congressional delegation and people in Connecticut obviously are upset about this. They're saying that this is really not going to save any money, that it's $8 billion that's just being flushed down the toilet. How would you respond to that?
Brownlee: Well, I think that's not true and in fact one of the things that we will propose to do is buy significant numbers more of Blackhawk helicopters which are produced there because we need them. And so I think that's just not factual. I don't know who's saying that. But no one from Connecticut I've talked to has said that.
Q: Senator Dodd says that the 8 billion that's already been sent has just been money wasted.
Schoomaker: Well, again, I would ask then the question, is it prudent for us as an army or for the taxpayer that we spend $39 billion on something that's not a good idea in the current context.
Brownlee: Yeah, and --
Schoomaker: Especially when we can forward what the (sunk?) costs are here into the tech base and leverage it in the future.
Staff: I'd ask for y'all's cooperation. If we can go ahead and move General Cody up here and let the secretary and chief go, and have General Cody go into specifics, I think that will clarify a lot of issues as well.
Brownlee: Yeah. Thank you very much.
Q: Thank you.
Brownlee: Appreciate it.
Q: Thank you.
Cody: Chief, Mr. Secretary.
Q: Thank you.
Cody: It's first I've been introduced. Just going to clarify something.
What I'd like to do first is introduce who's also with us: the Honorable Claude Bolton, who is our acquisition executive for the Army; Lieutenant General Steve Blum, who's the chief of the National Guard; Lieutenant General Ron Helmly, who's the chief of our Army Reserve; and Brigadier General E.J. Sinclair, who's the commanding general of Fort Rucker, our aviation training center. And he's also our aviation branch chief.
What I'd like to do is throw up a couple slides, talk you through in detail what we're going to do, what our plan is, and then I'll open it up to questions.
First off, we've had seven major studies in the last 25 years on Army aviation. It intensified after Task Force Hawk, and then we did another study just prior to 9/11. And that study drove us to some decisions as to retiring Vietnam-era aircraft, the Cobra, the Huey, the OH-58 A and C model aircraft, out of the National Guard. And that study also had us cascading some modern aircraft into the National Guard, at some numbers.
We've had a changing operational environment, and we've looked at it very carefully since 9/11. War does several things for you, but it also requires you to really focus your efforts and to study exactly what risks you thought you took and what -- how those risks actually play out on the battlefield, as you made them without a good crystal ball.
And the operational environment has changed. Comanche was built to go deep. It was built to be a low observable helicopter. It -- which it is. It was built to be a highly responsive reconnaissance aircraft with a 4 billion -- excuse me -- 4 million lines of code, of mission equipment package, so that that it could be the see-first, understand-first and the action agent to act first on the modern battlefield. And we're sure that it could do that.
But the operational environment has changed. We're seeing a proliferation of MANPADS, IR missile systems, more sophisticated air- defense systems, as well as, in the joint fires arena, we have now new types of capabilities to deal with the radar threat environment that 13 or 14 years ago we did not have in the joint force. And so that has changed.
We've also seen, in the war in Afghanistan, in the war in Iraq, a greater preponderance in synergy between our ground maneuver forces and our aviation forces. And that changed our operational dictum.
We also took a good look at the attrition of our aircraft and loss of lives that we've had since 9/11 in aircraft that have been shot down. And I won't get too much into that because of the classification. But we did look very hard, and we sent people down range. And it gets to the question about why just now? It took us quite a while to study every one of these tragic incidents so we fully understood what the real threat was and what we forecast the threat to be.
Reserve component missions. Because we're retiring their aircraft because they're not sustainable and they're 1970 technology aircraft, we were faced with two choices; either not cascade aircraft from the operational force that's being used more, which has about 44 aircraft we've attrited already, or shortening -- or making their formations smaller. At the same time, we're relying more and more on the National Guard and the Reserve component aviation forces. We have in Afghanistan right now, we have them in Iraq. They're part of our rotation base. Yet we have not adequately equipped them with helicopters and formations and their formations don't look like ours today. So we took a good look at that.
We looked at our replacement and recap, recapitalization requirements for our fleet. And then we also looked at the emerging unmanned aerial vehicle strategy for manned and unmanned teaming with our helicopter fleet, and what it means as we move to the FCS-equipped force in terms of the requirements for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition.
And then we looked through the lens again of this, and the task force came back to us and said: Here's the capabilities you need to have for Army aviation.
Next slide, please.
And so it was a capabilities-based study, not targeted towards Comanches in particular.
And what we had in the balance, when it was all said and done, the task force came back to us and said: We've got to deal and fix right now our aircraft survivability equipment across our fleet. We need to fully fund the Apache Block III Longbow. The Longbow with full Block III capability gives us all the digital connectivity, the battlefield awareness, the battlefield situational understanding that we would get with Block I Comanche. And oh, by the way, the fire-control radar on Longbow Block III is the same fire-control radar that Block I Comanche would have. So they recommended that.
They also recommended that we needed to continue to pursue retiring the Kiowa Warrior aircraft, which was an interim reconnaissance aircraft, and buy a new reconnaissance aircraft. They recommended buying 303 light utility aircraft to replace the Hueys and OH-58s in the Guard; recommended buying more Blackhawks. We have a Blackhawk buy in the current pres-bud, and that number was about 100, and they recommended buying another 80 Blackhawks, which we could give to the National Guard as well as to replace the ones that we lost; buying more Chinooks -- 50 of them; buying 25 fixed-wing cargo; but also invest in common cockpits and fly-by-wire. Common cockpit will bring us closer to where the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's aircraft are, so that we'll have our UH-60 Mikes that are coming and our CH-47 Foxtrots have the same cockpit, the same technology upgrade that we have in our special operations. And that will also proliferate on the battlefield more situational understanding and awareness in our assault and lift aircraft; and then invest in our aviation munitions for our rockets and for our Hellfire and the joint common missile; initiate RDT&E; funds in some of the tech base that we have in Comanche for the Joint Multirole Helicopter for 2020, and then resource our new UAV strategy.
So that was in the balance, and then what we had in these years, 121 Comanches coming off the line, a Block I that was designed for low-observable. It would have been a reconnaissance aircraft replacing the Kiowa Warriors. And it has great diagnostics; it has two-level maintenance. But, as the chief already explained to you, based upon the current operational environment we have, we would have to put more money into those aircraft to make them survivable through the full spectrum of what the study told us are the emerging employment of Army helicopters that we had.
So what this enables us to do -- and this is why we made the decision -- we went here and said we want to buy 800 new aircraft, fully recap 1,400 of our aircraft, fully buy and wire our fleet for aircraft survivability, and double the buy of our aircraft survivability B-kits, the jammers and the chaff and flare systems. It gives us 796 new aircraft; it fully fleshes out our multifunctional brigades that we're building for the Army, for the active and the Guard; enhances our Reserve components; and it moves us towards modularity, to where we're going.
Q: Can we get copies of these slides, too?
Cody: Yeah. What I'm going to do is I'm going to put this balance chart over here for you. We'll get back to it in a minute, I'm sure.
I just want to touch on this just for a minute because it's kind of important to understand. Today we have about seven different formations in Army aviation depending upon what division, what corps or what National Guard division you're in. And the study came back to us and said if you want to fight Army aviation as part of the joint force in the air-ground regime that we anticipate to fight with the Future Combat System-equipped force, they recommended to us that it needs to be at the brigade level, it needs to be resourced with two attack battalions of 48 aircraft; a lift battalion of 30 aircraft; a general support battalion of eight command and control helicopters, 12 CH-47s, 12 medevac aircraft; a self-sustaining aircraft support battalion, with its own AVIM unit; and then the Class IV UAV unit.
When you lay that out -- and that would be for all our heavy divisions, a very similar design for our three light divisions, except here we would have the light reconnaissance aircraft vice the Apache Attack Helicopter -- you see that we've standardized our formations between the active component and the Guard component. When you lay that bill on the table, with the attrition aircraft we have and the retirement of over 880 Vietnam aircraft, we were short aircraft even with the buys we had in the current budget, not to mention the fact that we have to recap many of these aircraft based upon the operational tempo we have on them.
So we're moving to these formations. In fact, the 3rd Infantry Division, when it goes back to Operation Iraqi Freedom, it will go back with this aviation brigade. Its original aviation brigade only had 18 Apaches, 16 Black Hawks, did not have this and did not have this, and that was a heavy division design.
So that's where we're going. Next slide.
Now this is a complex chart, and I made it that way, because it's the only way I understand it. But when we looked at the missions areas of attack, reconnaissance, reconnaissance and surveillance with our UAVs, utility and cargo assault aircraft -- and I'll talk about fixed wing here in a second -- what's in green is what we had funded. We only had funded so many Longbows in Block I and II; did not have Block III funded. We were going to divest ourselves of the 605 Kiowa Warriors that we have, and we were going to buy Comanche and go out.
What we can do now is go to Block III and take our 501 Longbows, 284 between now and '11, to make full up Block III and place up the other residual 237 to bring us up to 501 Block III Longbows; divest ourselves of the Kiowa Warrior and purchase a new armed reconnaissance helicopter with the cast common cockpit, so it's digital connectivity, about 368 of them, and recap our A-model Apaches for the National Guard.
On the UAVs, right now, this is where we would have been: We've already got Hunter; we're working an early buy-out for the Shadow; we just started producing and procuring the Raven, which is the small UAV. And what we're able to do now is procure more UAVs, accelerate the extended-range and multipurpose UAVs so that we can fully work the manned and unmanned teaming with our helicopter fleet.
By the way, a Block III Longbow will give you level-four control of a UAV. In other words, what the UAV sees, the Longbow will see. If the Longbow pilot wants to take charge of the UAV package that's 50 miles out in front of him and drive the sensor package, he will be able to do that. And so that's how we're working and pulling transformational-type technology forward.
On the utility fleet, if we stayed where we were, we had the UH- 60L, and we were going to buy about 101 in our program. This new program continues with the 101, but also buys another 80. It also buys 303 of this light utility helicopters to replace these aircraft, and then it converts -- some of our Ls will come to the Mike-model line, will have an A-to-A UH-60 recap, and it gets our program set up out here to 2020.
The CH-47, we had a new buy in here of 20, plus we had six that we'd already had funded, and this also allows us to accelerate that. But also, for both of these aircraft in here we fully funded common cockpit for both of these airframes as well as fly by wire so we can deal with the austere brownout conditions that our pilots have been encountering, so that they can better land the aircraft in brownout conditions.
And then when we looked at our fixed-wing fleet, we're already set up on our special electronic missions aircraft. We'll be moving from the RC-12 and RC-7 out to the aerial common sensor aircraft. That's a joint program. That's been on track.
What has not been on track is our cargo aircraft. Right now we have about 40 of the C-23A's and B's in the Reserves, and we're looking to replace that with a much more capable aircraft, about 25 of them, that we'll put in the National Guard to meet intra-theater lift requirements for the new modular formations we have, as well as for the homeland security, homeland defense missions that the Guard has.
So the bottom line is, 70 percent of the current fleet we have we'll be able to either upgrade, recapitalize and buy new, compared to trading off 121 Comanches. And that's what this whole program's about.
Someone's going to ask me how much money we're putting in UAVs. It's about $300 million.
Q: For what period?
Cody: During this period, '04 to '11. And I don't have the exact numbers, but we'll be putting a sizable amount of money into the joint multi-role helicopter and the Joint Vertical Lift technology.
Q: How does the UAV investment compare to what you were going to do before?
Cody: Much more.
Q: How much?
Cody: I don't have the figures here, but it's sizable. And of course, you know started this on emergency funding, the Raven; now we're going to putting this into our budget.
Q: If I could just clarify.
Cody: Go ahead.
Q: You mentioned 70 percent being upgraded or modernized versus putting that money into Apache -- into Comanche. But if you didn't put that money into Comanche, my understanding is you'd still have upgrade programs on other aircraft. So what would the comparable figure be?
Cody: Okay. Our total upgrades would have been 498, and now we move it to 801. Our current new buys would have been 107; we now move it to 903. And our total modifications will stay the same because those programs are ongoing.
Q: I'm sorry, that's number of platforms, not dollars?
Cody: That's platforms.
Q: The armed recon 368, is that a new development? And how is that different from Comanche?
Cody: We have several ideas of how we're going to approach that.
How would I answer that, Mr. Bolton?
Bolton: As soon as you give me the requirement, we're going to put that on the street and let industry tell us which way to go.
Cody: That's how we're going to handle that.
Q: Comanche has had so many critics in the past suggest things like this, what is different now? You have to be missing some sort of capability in the future. Say 10 years from now, when you go ahead with this plan, it will be just as good, comparable to Comanche?
Cody: The chief told us to put this in the total context and come back with the capabilities, but also to be informed as to what we're going to do with our brigades as we move from a brigade- centric formation in our Army, more modular, more self-sustaining, that leverages joint fires and other joint forces. And as we looked at it, that's where we came up with the newer formation.
If you remember, Comanche was going to be in the (U of A?) with 12 aircraft. That was prior to 9/11 and prior to everything else that we did. We have since gone back and looked very, very hard at the aviation formation and came up with this new formation based upon how we're fighting. Also, there has been -- the way we're changing our brigade structure and the way we're moving to more joint fires, some of the things the Comanche was going to do for us can be done by other joint systems.
And when you lay all this out and you take a look at the health of Army aviation and where it's going to be, and the synergy between Army aviation and Army ground forces and the propensity for us to fight more joint, but also for our helicopters to be more in the close fight in support of our ground maneuver forces for killing, reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, that's what changed. And we think we're going to get as much capability or more capability by going to this larger aviation force.
Go ahead in the back.
Q: Yeah. Are you -- are weaponized UAVs and stealthy UAVs part of this plan?
Cody: We will weaponize UAVs.
Q: But --
Cody: You had a question in the back. Wait.
Q: -- not stealth?
Q: Yeah, about the recon helicopter, the new one.
Q: Did Mr. Bolton say that you would be putting an RFP out, implying this is an entirely new program?
Cody: We will generate a requirements document for him, and then from that he will make a decision on how to go about getting us that helicopter.
Q: Does that imply that this is a new program altogether, a new goal?
Cody: This will be a new start, this will be a new start, this will be a new start.
Q: Where do UAV weaponization efforts stand right now? I mean, you have some kits for the Hunter, but how soon will they be deployed?
Cody: I'll have to get back to you. I can't remember where we're at on it.
Q: Sir, could you explain in lay terms what about the operational environment raised survivability concerns about the Comanche, and what about that aircraft left it susceptible to these issues?
Cody: Okay. What we're seeing on the battlefield is a proliferation of much more sophisticated missiles. What we're seeing on the battlefield is triple-A weapons systems, and where they're being employed is much more sophisticated in terms of target acquisition. If we were to put Comanche on the battlefield today, we would have to do some upgrades to deal with that.
Yes, go ahead.
Q: A couple quick factual questions. You mentioned at the beginning that you studied the shoot-downs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Could you tell us, without giving details of each one, how many were shot down? Could you tell us how much you've spent on Comanche so far, and could you tell us how short the reserve component is of aircraft?
Cody: Okay. We have spent about $6.9 billion on Comanche, most of that in our RDT&E; account. We've had nine confirmed helicopters shot down with the loss of 32 lives. And I'll refer to Steve Blum or Ron Helmly on the Guard and Reserve questions. Steve?
Q: How many are short?
Blum: Well, it really depends. If we're going to look exactly like the Army, and we move to modularity, so that we have the exact same capability on the battlefield, whether we're an Army National Guard unit or an Army Reserve unit or an active Army unit --
Q: Could you move to the lectern?
Blum: Sure. As we move to modularity, which is exactly where we should go, so that all components of your United States Army have the exact same capabilities on the battlefield, so that they're interchangeable, plug-and-play parts, as we're using the Reserve component as an operational Reserve today and in the foreseeable future, this is an essential move for us.
So you can see that the organizations now, while they today don't match, they're not plug-and-play, they're not interoperable, and they're certainly not interchangeable, we insisted -- and the Army has come up with an organization that makes us look exactly alike, we'll be equipped exactly alike, and we'll be -- we will fight exactly like our active-duty counterparts, as soon as the same modules that you see here are resident in the Reserve component as they are in the active duty, and the same numbers apply.
So we will take the current fleet that we have, reapportion it against the new modularity model, and then this new initiative with Comanche will enable us to have modernized aircraft, new aircraft, relevant and ready aircraft for homeland defense and overseas.
Q: How much of an increase in aircraft numbers is that? How many more aircraft --
Blum: Well, we don't know until we apply what we have currently against this modularity force and then buy what we need and recapitalize what we have to --
Cody: It will not be a one-for-one of the 880 we're cascading out, because, as you know, a Black Hawk is much more capable than a UH-1.
Cody: So if you're looking for a one-to-one, it won't be that way. I don't have the absolute numbers. I used to have them. We'll get that to you. But there is a sizable amount of new acquisitions going to the National Guard.
Q: General, can I just double-check some of the dollar figures? My understanding had been that about $8 billion had been spent. You're saying it's 6.9 (billion dollars)?
Cody: I saw that on TV. It's a bad number.
Q: The 6.9 [billion dollars] is the right number?
The total price tag of the program, 39 billion --
Cody: Thirty-nine-point-something billion. And that would have been bought 650 Comanches.
Q: Sir, on the same -- following through on the numbers questions there, do you have a ballpark figure of what the cancellation costs might be for Comanche?
Cody: No, we don't know what the contract cancellations -- I'll ask Secretary Bolton to address that. They've got some windows, but we don't know what it will be. There's a process that has to go through that I'm not fully up to speed on.
Bolton: For the termination costs, somewhere between 450 to about 680. We won't know the exact costs until I have a chance to put the proposal out to the two companies that are involved here.
Q: (Off mike.) -- asking is much higher than that, but that's clear, you're saying that 2 billion is over -- is way more than you would expect it to be?
Bolton: Two billion is not, if I look in the contract today, it is way overestimated. So the number between 450 and 680 is a much better number. As I said, we'll negotiate that with the contractor over the next year.
Q: Bell and Boeing estimate that this would impact about 1,300 jobs, initially anyway, in five states. As the secretary and the chief said, though, can you talk about how this new plan may get those jobs back? For example --
Bolton: I think, as you see with what both the chief and secretary have said and General Cody, on the one hand we have 121 aircraft we could have bought over the next five years using the money that we're taking from the Comanche. On the other hand, you're buying almost 800 new vehicles, recapitalizing 1,400, and we're going right back to the same companies, because that is the aircraft industry industrial base. And so I've got to think that the jobs will be there. I have to leave that up to industry. I've already talked to industry today, talked to leadership of both Boeing and Sikorsky. I'll meet face to face with them again tomorrow, and the briefing that you're getting here today they will get on Thursday. And they will also receive a request for information from me that says how do we make this happen? Because my job is to take all of the boards that you've seen up here and what the chief and secretary have said and what the war fighter, the soldier needs, and make that a reality and to do it as quickly as possible. And the only way to do that is to get industry involved right away.
Q: Okay. How fast are you divesting yourself of the Kiowa Warrior and what is the timetable exactly for procuring the new -- (Inaudible.) --
Cody: We want to do this as quickly as we can. And again, it will be based upon the requirements, documentation that we send to the acquisition executive and then how quickly industry can react to build these new air frames for us to bridge this gap.
I'll take two more questions. Go ahead.
Q: Sir, the dollars -- in the '05 budget there's roughly about a billion-two for Comanche R&D.; Roughly how much will be spent on '05 under this new plan?
Cody: We don't know until we work the termination costs, but clearly we're looking to take those dollars and put it into this plan.
Q: Sir, how much will it cost to -- how much is your estimate for the Army reconnaissance program for the '04-to-'11 timeframe?
Cody: Let's just say that we've got some target values based upon these new starts that I talked to you about -- the 368, the 303 and the 25 -- and based upon our studies and everything, we have the right balance to be able to buy those aircraft fully up to the capabilities that we know we're going to write in our requirements documentation.
Q: All within that time period?
Cody: All within that time period.
Staff: One last question.
Q: General, our affiliate in New Haven, Connecticut, wanted me to ask -- they were up covering Lieutenant-General Riggs back in September at a ribbon-cutting for the new Sikorsky facility, and the quote they sent along that they wanted someone here to respond to is, "If one ever questions the need for this aircraft, the events of the last two years make it clear we need this system now more than ever." When did it become apparent to you that the operational requirements changed?
Cody: For me -- in fact, I'm surprised you quoted him. I'm sure you could've quoted me a year ago. (Laughter.) And I think I'm the only general officer that's flown the Comanche. And I will tell you up front, and pass on to my friends at Boeing and Sikorsky that are on this team, they built a tremendous aircraft. It is the most flexible, most agile aircraft that we have produced in this country, and the people that built it ought to be very, very proud of it. Tremendous flying characteristics and leap-ahead technology that's going to help us as we move forward.
But the last six months in particular, as I looked at it, the weight of the requirements to fix Army aviation and the change in the operational environment balanced against the cost of the Comanche and the niche capabilities it brings to the table today as a Block I aircraft, and the niche capabilities it has as we move to the future force and what we can do on the other side to enhance all of Army aviation, I crossed that river about six months ago.
Q: How many of them actually exist?
Cody: That's all I have for you. Thank you.
Q: How many Comanches actually exist? Sir, how many exist?
Cody: I think there's 2 that are operational.
Q: Sir, could you just flesh out what -- (Inaudible.)
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