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Re: Ala rotante

CSAR-X ..... brutte notizie in vista? (e lotte a coltello tra le quinte).....

(dal sito di AW&ST)

Pentagon Could Ground CSAR-X Acquisition

Mar 13, 2009
By Michael Fabey

The Pentagon has included the U.S. Air Force’s $15 billion combat, search and rescue (CSAR-X) helicopter replacement acquisition among the programs meant for the chopping block in upcoming budget deliberations, say industry and government sources familiar with the program procurement.

It is still relatively early in the process and CSAR-X still could once again survive Defense Department maneuvering to remain an Air Force mission and priority. But the Pentagon’s reconsideration of the program shows the lingering doubts that some in DOD have about the need for a dedicated CSAR-X fleet, and the internal battle going on for the money slated for the program and the mission.

Part of the reason why the CSAR-X remains an open question is because of acquisition missteps by the Air Force. The service had to pull back from its first choice for the contract – the Boeing HH-47 Chinook variant – after the congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO) upheld two protests by rival bidders Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky. At the same time, Air Force requirement changes sparked an investigation by the Pentagon Inspector General (IG).

Given the controversy surrounding the Boeing choice and some of the bad publicity surrounding the Lockheed presidential helicopter program, some familiar with the program have suggested Sikorsky could win the new bid for CSAR-X, despite delays with a Canadian helicopter effort.

But CSAR-X delays spurred by the industry protests and IG investigation also provided more ammunition to those in the Pentagon who had tried to prevent the Air Force from rebuilding its CSAR fleet for years.

Earlier this year, as part of an exclusive Aerospace DAILY investigation, Pentagon acquisition chief John Young questioned the analysis that went into determining the need for a CSAR-X fleet, and said the whole CSAR mission should be re-examined (Aerospace DAILY, Jan. 28-30). Recently on Aviation Week’s Ares technology blog, former USAF Chief of Staff Mike Ryan challenged Young and said combatant commanders’ requests belie the idea of a nondedicated fleet.

DOD leaders have rejected all speculation over major imminent program changes or cancellations, with Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying last month that no decisions will be final until the end of negotiations with the White House.