Pressing on With CSAR-X?:

The Air Force plans to issue its final amended request for proposals this week and would give the three competitors—Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Sikorsky—a little over two weeks to return their revised proposals for the combat search and rescue replacement helicopter program. It seems a fast turnaround, given that the draft amended RFP prompted additional questions. Although this new round centers only on estimates for operations and support costs, the draft amendment prompted requests for clarification from both Lockheed and Sikorsky and fueled the debate over whether the earlier award to Boeing bypassed warfighter requirements. One critical issue was the key performance parameter change from “mission ready” to “flight ready.” Air Force spokesman Don Manuszewski told the Daily Report yesterday that Air Force Special Operations Command prompted that KPP change in April 2005, before USAF switched the CSAR force back to Air Combat Command. AFSOC decided, after discussion with Air Force and DOD test entities, that the variability of CSAR missions would prohibit testing for the more stringent mission-ready status; so AFSOC opted to switch to flight ready. Boeing’s CSAR-X entrant barely passed the flight-ready KPP.