Preliminary Analysis of Helicopter Options to Support Tunisian Counterterrorism Operations

by Christopher A. Mouton, Adam R. Grissom

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Research Question

  1. Which alternative platforms to the UH-60M Blackhawk could perform the assault mission, and at what cost?

In early 2014, the government of Tunisia requested permission to purchase 12 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters. But rising costs and delays in delivery raised the question of whether other cost-effective options exist to meet Tunisia's helicopter requirement. This report offers a preliminary assessment of alternative helicopters that are cost-effective and capable of performing the assault mission. This analysis required detailed modeling of key mission tasks on a sortie-by-sortie basis. The results suggest that several alternative platforms could offer cost-effectiveness equal to or greater than the UH-60M. Depending on availability, they might offer viable alternatives to the UH-60M acquisition.

Key Findings

Four Helicopters Could Be More Cost-Effective Than the UH-60M

  • These are the AS-332L1 Super Puma, the CH-47D Chinook, the Mi-17v5, and the S-61T.
  • Availability will also be a factor in determining whether these helicopters are viable alternatives.

This research was conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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