Marines: September 19, 2000


US Marine Corps Aviation had a bad month in August, and things aren't going to get better. The heavy lift CH53E helicopters were grounded after the failure of a duplex bearing in a Navy MH53E. The last time a '53 went down for this problem (1996) the whole fleet stayed grounded for five months. The Marines need to spend $1.5 billion starting in 2004 to extend the lives of the CH53Es through 2025. (That way, the replacement aircraft can be ordered after the expensive purchase of Joint Strike Fighters is over.) The problem is that this money isn't programmed into the budget. The AH1W attack helicopter fleet (198 aircraft) was grounded for several days in August after cracks were round in some rotor blades. Inspections found a few more cracked blades, which were replaced. (The balance weight for the blades was, for reasons unknown, made in two pieces instead of one. The blades cracked at the point the two pieces of the balance weight met.) Money is in the budget to upgrade these to AH1Z attack helicopters. The MV-22 fleet (11 aircraft) was grounded for a few weeks when the coupling that links the two engines failed on one aircraft. This coupling is needed in case one engine goes out (allowing the other engine to drive both rotors); the aircraft landed safely. The real problem with the V-22 program is cost. The Marines were expecting to pay $40 million each for these aircraft, but they are showing up at a cost as high as $70 million each. There is no money in the budget for the extra expense. The Marines desperately need the vertical take-off Joint Strike Fighter as their Harrier fleet is increasingly difficult and expensive to keep flying. They may have to give up on the Harriers before JSFs enter service if the overall JSF program is delayed. The Marines need to replace their fleet of KC130 tankers, but the Pentagon will not budget for this and Congress has been adding a KC130J every now and then to the Clinton Administration's plans. Money is being spent upgrading the last of the UH1Ns to UH1Ys to avoid having to buy new aircraft to replace them, but money is getting hard to find and harder to keep.--Stephen V Cole 


Article Archive

Marines: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close