The Government Accountability Office in its May 3 report (see above) also commented on the Boeing HH-47 deployability performance factor, which has been labeled deficient. According to GAO, the Boeing baseline aircraft—the MH-47G—barely met the three-hour window for buildup to flight-ready status after airlift. Its time was two hours and 58 minutes. Air Force evaluators called the buildup demonstration “marginal” and noted a few exceptions (deleted as propriety). However, GAO did note that Boeing intended to incorporate a number of time-saving measures not installed on the baseline version and indicated that the Air Force believed these measures would enable the Boeing helicopter to meet requirements. GAO called the determination “not unreasonable.”
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.