Acquisition Update

The Air Force expects to be able to make a decision on the winning CSAR-X helicopter “by the spring timeframe,” according to Maj. Gen. Randy Fullhart, director of global reach programs in the Air Force Secretariat. Appearing Feb. 1 on This Week in Defense News, a CBS TV news show, Fullhart also said the Air Force hopes to get out a new request for proposal for the KC-X tanker sometime this year. The Air Force, he said, is “still going to press forward with the idea of one aircraft” being chosen via a winner-take-all competition between Boeing and Northrop Grumman and is against a split-buy strategy (i.e., buying both Boeing and Northrop tankers) because, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates has stated, a split buy “doubles the cost up front” of the acquisition. The Air Force is also planning to issue a new request for information to industry this month on fee-for-service aerial refueling services, said Fullhart. This could potentially lead to a request for proposal later this year. As for the future of the C-17 production line, Fullhart said service officials “see the end in sight” and have no intention of continuing production beyond the current 205-aircraft program of record.