Third Time Charm?

The Air Force has indeed issued Amendment 6 to its CSAR-X combat search and rescue helicopter replacement program, There is no hint of an award date, but industry responses are due May 27, not May 22 as we reported last week. According to an Air Force statement dated April 22, the service issued Amendment 6 because it needs more time to review the new information the three contractors provided in early January under Amendment 5. However, as we reported, the new amendment also rolls in the legislative requirements regarding specialty metals. The statement notes that the service’s “performance based requirements have not changed.” Amendment 5, issued last fall after successive successful protests, enabled the three contractors—original CSAR-X winner Boeing and fellow competitors Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky—to update both cost and non-cost data in their proposals, essentially starting the program over. Once again the service maintains that it is “committed to a fair and transparent process” and, although it considers replacement of its aging HH-60 Pave Hawk fleet an urgent requirement, it plans “to take as much time as necessary to evaluate the proposals.”