by Laura McGowan
Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs
11/9/2006 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- Air Force officials announced Nov. 9 the award of a contract potentially valued at $4.1 billion to The Boeing Co., for the Air Force's number two acquisition priority, a replacement combat search and rescue, or CSAR, helicopter.
The program will take place in two parts. The first increment, Block 0, will deliver an improved capability. The Initial Operational Capability with 10 aircraft is scheduled for 2012. If the Department of Defense exercises the second increment, Block 10, the acquisition program could continue through 2019.
Aeronautical Systems Center's 669th Aeronautical Systems Squadron led the source selection efforts with help from Air Combat Command, Air Force Special Operations Command and other designated agencies within the Air Force.
"The Air Force is the only service with forces dedicated to the critical mission of combat search and rescue," said Lt. Gen. Jack Hudson, ASC commander. "We take that mission seriously, and this new CSAR platform will greatly benefit all service members who operate within hostile, uncertain or enemy territory."
CSAR-X is a medium-lift helicopter which will replace the Air Force's fleet of HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters that are near their service-life limit. Its primary mission will be to recover downed aircrew members and isolated troops in combat environments. Additionally, CSAR-X may be used for non-combatant missions such as civil search and rescue, international aid, emergency medical evacuation and disaster/humanitarian relief.
"The increased capabilities that CSAR-X will provide our joint force commanders and future civil disaster needs is tremendous," said Col. Ronald Warner, 356th Aeronautical Systems Group commander.
The CSAR-X will be designed to deploy quickly worldwide, day or night, to perform rescue operations regardless of the terrain or environment, meeting the warfighters' needs.
The ASC program office will provide life-cycle management of this weapon system.