Acquisition Plan for New Helo Still in the Works

Although there are funds allotted for two Common Vertical Lift Support Platform helicopters in the Air Force’s just-released Fiscal 2012 budget request, the service hasn’t decided yet on the acquisition strategy for the new platform, Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, Air Force Global Strike Command boss, told reporters Friday. “We will have another meeting or two before a formal decision is made,” he said during a media event at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. The decision, he said, is still pending in the office of David Van Buren, the Air Force’s top acquisition official. “We think we have enough time to set up a program,” said Kowalski. However, he did not rule out the Air Force sole-sourcing CVLSP, the replacement to its Vietnam War-era UH-1N Hueys that protect the nation’s ICBM fields. The Air Force has explored using the 1932 Economy Act to bypass a formal competition. “We have an urgent and compelling need,” and sole sourcing, in theory, at least, would accelerate the acquisition process and get the new helicopters into service sooner, he said.