New York lawmakers have begun to pressure the Air Force to reopen the combat search and rescue helicopter replacement program. Letters have gone to Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne from Sen. Hillary Clinton, Rep. Michael Arcuri, and Rep. Maurice Hinchey, expressing dismay that the service plans to “narrowly” view the Government Accountability Office decision on the CSAR-X protests by Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky. The three Democrats are particularly interested in giving Lockheed, with its Owego, N.Y.-based helicopter plant, another bite at the apple.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.