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DoD, Boeing Prepare to Ink Rotorcraft Sustainment Contracts

Aug. 28, 2012 - 07:59PM   |  
By MARCUS WEISGERBER   |   Comments
A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook receives battle-specific modifications at a Boeing facility in Millville, N.J. on Aug. 28.
A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook receives battle-specific modifications at a Boeing facility in Millville, N.J. on Aug. 28. (Marcus Weisgerber / Staff)
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MILLVILLE, N.J. — The Pentagon is preparing to sign two rotorcraft support contracts with Boeing, one for V-22 Osprey sustainment and another for CH-47 Chinook rotor blades, according to company officials.

The company has a “handshake” agreement with the U.S. Marine Corps for an Osprey sustainment contract dubbed “2.0,” Peri Widener, Boeing’s vice president of rotorcraft support, said during an Aug. 28 briefing at a company facility here.

Boeing and its V-22 partner Bell are “working through the contract language” with the Pentagon and hope to have the deal finalized by the end of the week, Martin Anderson, Boeing’s director of V-22 support, said at the same briefing.

The Bell-Boeing team is in the fourth year of a five-year Osprey performance based logistics contract, called “phase 1.”

“We’re real close to getting the second phase of that contract taken care of,” Anderson said.

The 2.0 contract — which covers broader activities than the first phase — will cover maintenance, depot, field support, supply availability, product improvement and supplier management, according to Boeing officials.

The contract is expected to run for 51 months, Anderson said.

At the same time, Bell-Boeing and the Pentagon are working to extend the original logistics contract so both contracts end at the same time, he said.

Neither sustainment contract covers engine logistics.

Bell-Boeing has delivered 181 V-22s to the Marine Corps and Air Force. The aircraft have deployed outside of the United States 18 times since 2007.

The industry team is delivering aircraft that were purchased through a five-year multiyear procurement contract that was signed in March 2008. Bell-Boeing and the Pentagon are in negotiations for a second multiyear deal that would include 98 aircraft, with options for more, Anderson said.

That procurement arrangement could be finished by the “tail end” of 2012 or “first quarter” of 2013, he said.

Chinook Rotor Contract

Boeing is also preparing to enter a “handshake” agreement with the U.S. Army for a performance based logistics contract for Chinook rotor blades, Raymond Haddad, Boeing’s director of Chinook support, said.

A contract award is expected in September.

Boeing has already increased availability and driven down the cost of Chinook blades, Haddad said. Over the first four years of the new logistics contract, the company projects a 10 percent cost reduction for the rotor blades.

Company officials declined to provide dollar values of the V-22 sustainment and CH-47 rotor contracts, since they are not finalized.

Boeing provided reporters transportation to the Millville facility.

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