New CSAR-X Amendment Issued

The Air Force released the newest update to its CSAR-X solicitation, amendment 7, on Dec. 5. In a statement issued that same day, the service said the amendment contains “minor changes” that are meant “to further clarify” how it will choose the winning helicopter design to replace its aging HH-60G Pave Hawks. But there is no target date given for when the decision will be made next year. And, an Air Force spokesman confirmed to the Daily Report yesterday that “no date has been established,” when asked for more specific information. The amendment does reflect an additional slip of roughly six months to the projected start of operations of the first CSAR-X squadron. Whereas this past summer, Air Force officials were still hoping to start operations of the first unit as well as the CSAR-X training squadron between the first quarter of Fiscal 2013 and the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2014, the service is now speaking of the window between the third quarter of Fiscal 2013 and the second quarter of Fiscal 2015. (Remember, before the two rounds of successful legal protests by Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky after the Air Force crowned Boeing’s HH-47 the winner in November 2006, the Air Force planned to field the first unit before the end of Fiscal 2012.) Prior to late October, the Air Force had been saying publicly that it expected to award the CSAR-X contract before the end of 2008. But then it subsequently gave notice of its intent to issue the new amendment, and said at the time that this process would cause a “minor delay” to the program. The Air Force plans to buy 141 CSAR-X helicopters under work that could be worth up to $15 billion to the winning contractor.