No Joy Here:

Veteran Air Force combat search and rescue pilot—retired Lt. Col. John Guilmartin—has added his two cents to the continuing debate over USAF’s selection of the Boeing HH-47 for the original CSAR-X award, writing a letter to key lawmakers that pointedly refutes the wisdom of selecting a helicopter whose size “is a liability not an advantage.” Guilmartin, who is a professor of history at Ohio State University, flew rescue helicopters in Vietnam and, after his retirement, served on USAF’s Gulf War Air Power Survey examining CSAR use in that war. In the letter sent last month to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose office is reviewing the CSAR acquisition, and others, Guilmartin states that the other contenders—Lockheed Martin’s US101 and Sikorsky’s HH-92—with their single rotors “confer superior maneuverability and agility”—a boon to “survival in the terminal area,” which he terms the “critical issue” in CSAR. He says the HH-47 is “cumbersome” by both weight and design, making it “a big, slow target.”