Standing Fast:

The Air Force’s 13-page response to questions from the contractors vying for the combat search and rescue helicopter replacement program leaves no doubt that USAF acquisition officials are satisfied that they have met all challenges and won. They insist, contrary to recent criticism, that the “Air Force CSAR warfighter has been involved in every step of the CSAR-X acquisition since its inception.” They claim the original award to Boeing “met or exceeded all warfighter requirements and represented best value.” They also dismiss claims that their “subject matter experts” had “no experience” on the three vying platforms—Boeing’s HH-47, Lockheed Martin’s US101, and Sikorsky’s HH-92—saying that the SMEs are wartime experienced airmen with “significant” rotorcraft experience under real-world conditions and that provides them “appropriate knowledge and qualifications.” On the issue of fuel burdened costs, USAF maintains that it is following March 2007 OSD guidance, so plans to implement these new requirements “at the proper time in the acquisition process,” which for the CSAR-X will come at the production and deployment approval point.