CSAR Salad

The Fiscal 2015 budget apparently offers no plan for a new Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Wednesday. She told a Bloomberg defense budget symposium in Washington, D.C., that CSAR “is a priority” as well as “a sacred mission” to recover downed or stranded airmen, soldiers, and sailors alike. However, “for 10 years, we’ve been talking about replacing this helicopter,” and she said it has yet to be determined what the right next step is. “It’s a question of, ‘can we afford it, can we afford it now versus later, [or] is it better to do upgrades or buy new?’” she said. However, the aircraft are old and in rough shape and “something’s gotta give,” she observed, adding that she’s “personally looking at this very hard.” CSAR is a priority, but “we have to rack and stack that priority with the others.” (See also Angel Thunder from the June 2013 edition of Air Force Magazine.)