The Cost of Replacing Today’s Army Aviation Fleet
Publication n° 55180
May 10, 2019
The U.S. Army has about 4,300 piloted aircraft, most of which are helicopters (also known as rotary-wing aircraft). Three large, high-value fleets—the H-60 Black Hawks, AH-64 Apaches, and H-47 Chinooks—account for most of the helicopters, and their eventual replacement dominates the Army’s future procurement costs.
In this report, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the costs of replacing those helicopters and the Army’s other aircraft through 2050 if the service implemented its current plans and, for aircraft with no announced replacement plans, if they were replaced when they reached the end of their typical service life.
The annual costs of replacing the Army’s aviation fleet would decline during the 2020s, from about $4 billion in 2018 to about $1.5 billion in 2027, and then rise to a peak of about $4.7 billion in 2032 before drifting downward again.
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