Army Quests For Holy Grail: The Elusive Armed Aerial Scout

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Army aviation leaders thought they had a plan to start developing a new Armed Aerial Scout all teed up for the vice chief of staff’s approval last month. But Gen. Lloyd Austin III said, “no.”

It was the latest twist in a 21-year (and counting) saga to replace the Army’s aging OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, a Vietnam-vintage design. The interminable effort to build a new reconnaissance helicopter has started to resemble the legendary quest for the Holy Grail.

“We went to the vice chief of staff the week before Christmas, and we got sent back with more homework to do,” said Col. John Lynch, capability manager for reconnaissance and attack with the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). “We were expecting to get a decision from the vice but we did not,” Lynch told a Boeing Co. media brunch on the eve of the Association of the annual Army Aviation Symposium, hosted by the Association of the US Army this Thursday and Friday.

The trick, Lynch said, is finding the right balance among the three main imperatives: schedule, capability and cost. “It’s an affordability question for the Army,” he said.

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