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Friday, June 6, 2008

Will USAF Ousters Delay CSAR-X Again?

How will the ouster of top U.S. Air Force brass affect the protracted selection of a next-generation combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopter for the service? The Air Force already has pushed back picking a new winner in its CSAR-X competition from next month to October. It had selected Boeing's CH-47F as the basis for the $10 billion-plus contract to replace aging and overladen Sikorsky Aircraft HH-60G Pave Hawks. But two protests by Sikorsky, offering its S-92, and Lockheed Martin, proposing AgustaWestland's AW101 with that manufacturer and Bell Helicopter, forced the Air Force to re-bid the contract. Now U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has removed Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Gen. Michael "Buzz" Moseley, the service's chief of staff, over  lax security for nuclear weapons. That means CSAR-X selection officials will have to spool up a new set of leaders of their process for picking a new winner. Their task isn't made any easier by Gates' comments that a host of other general officers and colonels could face disciplinary action as a result of the nuclear snafus. For related news
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