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Air Force to award new rescue helicopter contract

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

The Air Force announced its intent to award a competitive contract for a new rescue helicopter to carry out the personnel recovery mission.

Due to the criticality of this mission, the Air Force will realign about $430 million from other Air Force priorities beyond fiscal year 2014 through 2019 in order to award the Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) contract to United Technologies’ Sikorsky.

“Moving forward with the CRH contract award protects a good competitive price and effectively uses the $334 million Congress appropriated for the program,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.

In light of the fiscal situation, the Air Force has made many tough choices to balance strategy and budget. 

“Over the last 10 years, the Air Force has discussed upgrading the platform that performs this sacred mission for all DoD personnel who go into harm's way,” said James. “This mission is part of the military ethos, and the Air Force is committed to providing it.”

The contract is expected to be signed not later than the end of June 2014. Before moving forward with the contract, the program must complete a Milestone B review including independent cost assessments. In order to enable this timeline, Sikorsky must also agree to extend its pricing through June.

“The competitive price and the funding provided by Congress will allow us to award the CRH contract, but we could still face significant challenges to keeping this effort on track,” said James.  “We will need to work with Congress throughout 2015 budget deliberations, and if the FY16 DoD budget drops back to sequestration levels, this program, along with many others, will need to be reevaluated.”

(Courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)

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