Young Displeased With CSAR-X Progress

Young Displeased with CSAR-X Progress: Pentagon acquisition czar John Young said last week he is dissatisfied with the Air Force’s handling of the combat search and rescue vehicle replacement program, or CSAR-X. “I’m actually, to be honest with you, somewhat disappointed in that. I can tell you my leadership is approaching unhappy with that,” he told reporters during a briefing Oct. 30. According to various press reports, Young said he was prepared to approve a contract award for the $15 billion helicopter recapitalization program next month, but had to cancel those plans after the Air Force determined that it had not properly informed the industry bidders of a factor added to its evaluation criteria. As a result, the Air Force’s acquisition shop issued a notice Oct. 22, saying it would be releasing an amendment to the CSAR-X solicitation to clarify the change. USAF said there would be a “minor delay” associated with the amendment, which puts off announcing the winning helicopter until next year. Press reports have said the delay could roll into the spring or summer of 2009. The Air Force chose Boeing’s HH-47 in November 2006 to replace its HH-60G rescue helicopters, but the program has been in limbo since. After two successful rounds of legal protests by Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky, the Air Force reopened the contest to revised bids. As of August and September, Air Force officials were still saying publicly they expected to announce the winner this fall. (For more, read this Reuters news wire service report.)