NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– The Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) Team, part of the Naval Undergraduate Flight Training Systems (PMA-273) Program Office at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), was named the Navy’s Competition Excellence Acquisition Team of the Year for its streamlined acquisition program to achieve Milestone C/Full Rate Production and four contract awards (three competed) in just a year and a half.

The Navy’s first TH-73A Thrasher arrived at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida, Aug. 6, 2021. The TH-73A is assigned to Training Air Wing 5 and will replace the TH-57B/C Sea Ranger as the undergraduate rotary and tilt-rotor helicopter trainer for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Credit: U.S. Navy

“The AHTS team’s ability to execute an aggressive schedule while tailoring policies to fit our needs allowed us to save nearly $287 million for the Navy,” said Christina Hall, who accepted the award and served as the team’s deputy program manager at the time of contract execution. “We are now in a position to train the single largest training pipeline, equating to several hundred aviation students per year, for the Chief of Naval Aviation Training at Naval Air Station Whiting Field.”

The three competitive contract awards for the AHTS System of Systems included: a full and open competition for the TH-73A Thrasher helicopter; full and open competition for the Aircrew Training Systems contract; and a Fair Opportunity competition for Contractor Logistics Services. In the full and open competition, the program incentivized industry competitors to secure, for the first time in over 30 years, a single-engine Instrument Flight Rules certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, thus opening up the competition to single-engine helicopters. This pressed industry to propose a helicopter suitable for Naval training that was fully FAA certified prior to delivery. The program procured 130 fully commercial, non-derivative training helicopters, awarded below the original budget, which met the accelerated procurement schedule and positioned the fleet to successfully meet transition timelines.

The AHTS Team is one of six NAVAIR teams to win a Department of the Navy Acquisition Excellence Award this year from 170 nominations across the Navy. 

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