In its evaluation of the Lockheed Martin candidate for the combat search and rescue helicopter replacement program, the Air Force decided that Lockheed was not meeting “important schedule requirements” and was having “difficulty” in transmitting systems engineering processes to subcontractors in its work on the new VH-71 Presidential helicopter program. It was that vote of “little confidence” in past performance, according to a just released account of the Government Accountability Office’s CSAR-X protest decision, that led USAF to dismiss “modest” life cycle cost savings offered by Lockheed’s CSAR-X entrant. Responding to this revelation Wednesday, Lockheed cried foul, asserting that the Navy’s VH-71 helicopter program “is now on track to meet its aggressive initial operational capability date of October 2009.” And, the Navy agrees, telling the Owego (N.Y.) Star-Gazette that it had accelerated the “challenging” program by three years and is showing “good progress.” Per Lockheed, “The Air Force evaluation of our past performance is no longer current.”
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.