The Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the next defense policy bill supports the Army’s move to negotiate new multi-year procurement contracts for its AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, citing the opportunities for hundreds of millions in cost savings.

The recommendations in the bill, officially filed on Wednesday, align with the Army’s previously stated plans that the service is in negotiations with Boeing [BA] and Sikorsky [LMT] on final multi-year contracts for their respective helicopters, as the service shifts its priority to the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) fleet.

AH 64E ground to air shoot in the Arizona desert (Photo: Boeing)

For the Army’s AH-64E Apaches, the panel recommends the Army enter into a multi-year contract with Boeing covering FY ‘22 to ‘25, with a potential for a fifth year if needed.

The provision in SASC’s FY ‘22 NDAA notes a new multi-year deal for Apaches could lead to $234 million in savings as compared to awarding annual contracts and that it “would facilitate industrial stability.” 

For the Army’s UH-60M and HH-60M Black Hawks, the bill recommends the Army enter into a new multi-year contract covering FY ‘22 to ‘26 and cites potential cost savings of $405.4 million over the five-year period. 

“Additionally, this proposal would stabilize the workforce and reduce administrative burden for both the Army and contractor, resulting in a greater efficiency in acquisition operations,” SASC writes in the bill report for its FY ‘22 NDAA. 

Brig. Gen. Rob Barrie, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Aviation, in March confirmed the Army was pursuing its final multi-year contracts for Apache and Black Hawks, which have been in service since 1986 and 1979, respectively (Defense Daily, March 17). 

The Army plans to begin fielding the new Future Long Range Assault Aircraft in 2030 and Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft in 2028 to set the course for its future fleet. 

Paul Beuttenmuller, a Boeing spokesman, previously told Defense Daily the final multi-year Apache procurement contract is likely to be awarded in the first quarter of 2022 and would cover deliveries of AH-64Es through 2027 (Defense Daily, April 20).