The Air Force chose Boeing’s HH-47 to replace its current combat search and rescue helicopter because it is a variant of the company’s combat proven Chinook and because Boeing said it could meet USAF’s aggressive schedule. At the time, USAF decided that the odds-on favorite, Lockheed Martin’s US101—selected as the new Marine Corps Presidential helicopter—was in production difficulty so presented a schedule challenge. However, Lockheed maintains that USAF operated on old data—a claim supported by the Navy—and the company is ready to meet the CSAR-X schedule. Lockheed spokesman Greg Caires said Friday, in response to a Daily Report query: “We stand ready to support an expedited resolution that would ensure the competing systems are fully evaluated to the stated requirements. … If this process begins immediately, we believe it could be completed by October 2007, consistent with the timetable articulated by Air Force leaders. With such a process, Lockheed Martin stands ready to meet the Air Force’s original initial operating capability requirement of third quarter 2012.” However, USAF has just asked GAO to reconsider its decision upholding the protests of Lockheed and Sikorsky.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.