Boeing’s Round Two on CSAR-X

In just over a month, the Air Force will be mulling over three fresh proposals for the rebooted combat search and rescue helicopter replacement program—and according to Boeing’s Rick Lemaster, the company remains confident that their HH-47 will retain the contract. “It’s time to start building helicopters,” Lemaster, Boeing’s HH-47 program manager, told reporters in a conference call Dec. 4. He noted that the now yearlong delay in award of the CSAR-X contract has given Boeing the ability to “further highlight the advantages the [H-47] platform is displaying in theater.” Lemaster said that in the year since the original CSAR-X contract protest, the Army had fielded the CH-47F—an upgraded Chinook airframe with improved avionics systems, power, and service life projections. US Special Operations Command also has been flying its MH-47F and G models, which boast improved avionics and the terrain avoidance electronics that will appear in the HH-47. Those programs “will reduce the risk to the HH-47 program,” asserted Lemaster, adding, “History has borne out what we promised to the Air Force.”