CSAR-X intrigues enter last three months, or so we hope

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley has been very clear that he wants a contract awarded for combat search and rescue helicopters by the end of the year.

You may recall the CSAR-X acquisition has been in limbo since Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky successfully protested — twice! — the original contract awarded in November 2006 to Boeing for HH-47s. The US101 and HH-92, respectively, remain contenders in the third round of bidding.

We’re still waiting on two key events to make Donley’s wish come true: 1. the USAF must release a notice for final proposal revisions before next week at the latest, and 2. the Inspector General must release a report (likely next month) on whether the USAF improperly tinkered with requirements during the original award.

While we wait, here’s a useful chart that appeared as part of a public presentation by Boeing last month. It neatly summarizes how each proposal was ranked by the USAF in the original competition, and how Boeing has acted since then to improve on its original scores. (Click on the image to view a larger frame.)



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2 Responses to CSAR-X intrigues enter last three months, or so we hope

  1. Royce 14 October, 2008 at 3:34 pm #

    I still don’t understand the point of a competition where you have a big helicopter matched against a much smaller one. Either you need a big helicopter or you don’t. It’s when you don’t make that basic decision that you get into all these complications about soft factors like lifecycle costs, contract performance, yada, yada, yada.

  2. Stephen Trimble 14 October, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    Royce makes a fair point. This has been an issue for a lot of seemingly mis-matched proposals in recent competitions. Consider the turboprop Orion21 versus turbofan P-8A for the MMA deal. Likewise, the turbofan RQ-4 versus the turboprop Mariner versus the optionally manned G550 for BAMS. And so on … by comparison almost, CSAR-X looks tidy! But there is a huge difference between the three aircraft. I looked up the maximum takeoff weights.


    HH-47 = 50,000lb
    HH-92 = 31,500lb
    HH-101 = 31,500lb

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