Fresh Eyes

The Air Force has brought in a private group to help it assess the three bids in its contest to find a new combat search and rescue helicopter. Reuters news wire service reported Oct. 7 that the Air Force has engaged Logistics Management Institute, a nonprofit consulting group with much experience in working issues for the Pentagon, to help it evaluate the bids by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Sikorsky in the CSAR-X combat search and rescue replacement vehicle competition. The Air Force aims to select the winner before the end of the year. But stung by setbacks in its efforts to field the new helicopter as well as a new aerial tanker due to process errors in its bid evaluations, service officials have said they will not rush a new decision and are doing everything possible to render a verdict that can stand up against a legal protest by the losing bidders. Boeing’s HH-47 won the initial CSAR-X competition in November 2006, but two successful rounds of protests by Lockheed and Sikorsky with the Government Accountability office caused the Air Force to reopen the $15 billion recapitalization program to revised bids.