Weekly Standard blogger Michael Goldfarb, who has a keen eye for aerospace and defense industry issues and technology, also seems to have good connections.
Goldfarb has posted an email from an anonymous "friend" who conducted some of the trade studies in the CSAR-X competition, who writes:
"My analysis showed it coming in a poor third behind the Sikorsky S-92 and the EH-101. The only thing it had going for it was range and payload, both of which were excessive for the mission. From a survivability perspective, it is not a good choice, being large, slow and unmaneuverable. Its landing footprint is so large that many extraction points available to the other two candidates would be foreclosed to the Chinook, meaning that aircrew would have to be extracted by cable hoist–a slower and more dangerous proposition, since while the aircrew are being winched up, the helo must hover for an extended time.
Boeing kept its costs down by using remanufactured CH-47D airframes (as if the Army has enough!) to MH-47F standards, which would include a new glass cockpit, new digital engine controls, enlarged sponsons with increased fuel capacity, uprated transmissions, a new mission avionics suite (common to all three candidates, so the cost there was a wash), and additional armor around the crew stations and flight control system.How it won, I don’t know. My suspicion is two factors were at work. First, the Air Force wanted to ensure that this was an "interim" solution that would not, in the long term, endanger procurement of the MH-22 Osprey as the "objective" system–though it is not clear to me that the Osprey is really ideal for CSAR except from the perspective of speed and transit time. Second, the MH-47F would add a significant special operations capability to the USAF inventory, which would make it more of a player in the SOCOM community, and pose a challenge to the Night Stalkers of the 160th SOAR. After all, the 160th has only a small number of MH -47Es, so the addition of sixty or so birds with equivalent or superior night flying capabilities, each with the capacity to carry 40+ fully equipped troops or a light vehicle, would give the Air Force a lot of credibility."