Control of active-duty US Air Force combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) units based in the USA is to be transferred from Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) to Air Combat Command (ACC) to make the units more quickly available for joint operations and national emergencies, such as last year’s Hurricane Katrina, writes Graham Warwick.
The realignment includes Lockheed Martin HC-130 King and Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk CSAR aircraft and their crews. Deliveries of the Bell Boeing CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor to AFSOC will not be affected, while the USAF’s future CSAR-X helicopter will now be operated by ACC.
Control of US-based active-duty units was transferred to AFSOC in October 2003, and CSAR and special-operations crews will continue to go through initial training together.
Pacific Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve CSAR units are not affected by the realignment.
- The USAF hopes to base its third operational Lockheed Martin F-22A unit at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. Elmendorf AFB, Alaska and Hickam AFB, Hawaii are potential bases for Pacific Air Forces F-22s.