The Bids Are In (Again):

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Sikorsky have handed in their updated CSAR-X helicopter proposals to the Air Force, meeting the Jan. 7 deadline. USAF plans to announce the winner of the hotly contested competition around July. The winner will build 141 new rescue helicopters by around the end of next decade to replace the aging HH-60G fleet. The CSAR-X program is estimated to be worth between $10 billion and $15 billion to the winning contractor. Boeing’s HH-47, a Chinook derivative, won out in November 2006 over Lockheed Martin’s US101 and Sikorsky’s HH-92. However, two successful rounds of protests by the losing teams with the Government Accountability Office caused the Air Force most recently to reopen the competition and accept fully revised bids. USAF officials fear that the constriction of the defense industry, prompting protests on every award, could have far reaching—and costly—implications for the CSAR-X and its other top modernization program to replace its tanker fleet. (Read “2008 and the Path to the Required Force.”)