Air Force Launches Quest for Combat Rescue Helicopter

The Air Force issued the request for proposals to industry for the new combat rescue helicopter that it wants to replace its aging HH-60G Pave Hawks, announced service officials on Oct. 22. This signals “the official launch of this high priority Air Force acquisition program,” states the service’s release. The Air Force plans to award the CRH contract in late September 2013, states the RFP’s cover letter, posted as part of the solicitation at the Federal Business Opportunities website on Oct. 19. The service eyes a fleet of 112 new helicopters, with first fielding around Fiscal 2016 and deliveries into the late 2020s, according to the documents. The CRH’s primary mission will be “to recover isolated personnel from hostile or denied territory,” but it will also conduct ancillary missions like civil search and rescue and medical and casualty evacuations of combatants, states the release. Hover performance, combat radius, payload, and cabin space will be important factors in the Air Force’s assessment of each bid. The Air Force wants “a product that meets the requirement at an affordable price,” states the release. The service funded two CRH test aircraft in its Fiscal 2013 budget request.