The US Army says the cost estimate has jumped dramatically for the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter programme awarded to Bell Helicopter last month.

The army initially planned to spend $2.36 billion to buy 368 helicopters over the next six years, with a non-recurring flyaway cost of $5.4 million each for the first 10 aircraft and $5.1 million each for the next 28.

But the army acknowledges that the acquisition cost estimate has climbed to more than $3 billion, which explains why Bell and the army presented widely different cost estimates when the 407 ARH selection was announced on 29 July.

“The current approved estimate for the programme’s procurement cost is $3.6 billion in then-year dollars,” the army explains. “These costs include procurement of hardware [aircraft, training devices, initial spares], government/contractor programme management and all fielding requirements to include interim contractor support.”

Source: Flight International