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HeliTorque Forum Index » Attack, Recon & Special Ops

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CSAR-X
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Thor160
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:44 am    Post subject: CSAR-X Reply with quote

If you havent heard the US Air Force has chosen the Boeing HH-47, similar to the MH-47G (USASOC), as the new CSAR-X helicopter. Other birds in the competition were Lockheed/Bell/Westland's EH/US-101, and Sikorsky's H-92. Many think that it's not the right choice for CSAR missions due to its size, noise, and manueverability. I think it's a cool bird but not exactly what we need, even though it has good range and payload capacity. What do you think?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Questions emerge on Air Force CSAR-X selection
BY: Douglas Harpel, Defense Systems Daily
01/04/2007


With the US Air Force's recent selection of the Boeing CH-47 Chinook as
its Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter (CSAR) still raising eyebrows in
both Washington and in the Department of Defense (DoD) rotary wing
community comes more evidence that bigger is not better when it comes to
this mission area.

During a December 11th event at which the Army officially named its
newest helicopter the UH-72 "Lakota," Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, Director of
the Army National Guard told the Associated Press: "the need for a
small, versatile helicopter became more apparent immediately after
hurricanes Katrina and Rita, when choppers plucked survivors from
storm-ravaged areas. 'Instead of looking around for where you're going
to land when you're picking folks off roof top, you could put this thing
down in a small parking area'."

General Vaughn's comments refer to how the Army had to stop using its
massive CH-47s to hoist survivors from the water lest the massive
whirlwind generated by these helicopters potentially drown the very
people the Army was trying to save. The Service quickly reassigned the
CH-47 to its primary role - ferrying supplies into the hurricane-ravaged
Gulf Coast and relocating groups of displaced people from the disaster
area - a traditional cargo helicopter, not CSAR, role.

General Vaughn's comments come the Air Force has been touting the
utility, indeed the superiority of the Chinook-derived CSAR-X during
similar, future calamities. But the Air Force's original intention was
to buy a helicopter capable of quickly, safely and reliably going into
harm's way and retrieving only two downed fighter pilots isolated behind
enemy lines.

Another paradoxical comment appeared in December edition of National
Defense magazine, attributed by Army Lt. Col. Pete Smart, Medevac
Programme Manager at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. "We need a helicopter
with more cabin space and better performance in mountainous terrain," he
is quoted as saying. As a result, this customized battlefield helicopter
is now one of the Army's top acquisition programmes.

Stood side-to-side, the Air Force CSAR and the Army's medical-evacuation
(medevac) missions look similar and have overlapping needs. But instead
of mirroring the Air Force's decision - which similarly cited high
altitude flight and superior cabin size as the reasons for turning the
Chinook into a rescue helicopter - the Army intends to buy the HH-60M
helicopter, a medevac variant of the latest generation of UH-60 Black
Hawk, which has served in this role since 1978. "...the current fleet is
too limited for today's missions," Smart said, "existing Black Hawks are
too small for medical evacuations... [t]here's just not enough room."

According to Colonel Smart, the HH-60M offers more room, lift and range,
which can be critical during the so-called "golden hour" of patient
treatment -- the 60-minute period after a victim receives a severe wound
during which the casualty's chances of survival are said to be greatest
if he of she can reach an operating room during that period, he added.

But if the Army were to use the Chinook in the medevac role, the huge
helicopter could be transformed into a flying emergency room, just as
the Air Force's CSAR helicopters are to be equipped. The problem for the
Army: operational experience to date finds that while the CH-47 does
some things very well - like carrying a great deal of equipment or
people -it simply does not do well in the teeth of battle.

Chinook supporters cite the "Guns-a-Go-Go" aircraft of the Vietnam era -
flying gunships bristling with weapons, going toe-to-toe with the enemy.
The truth is three of the five ACH-47s were shot down within months of
deployment, and the surviving copies never again took the skies itching
for a fight. As the Royal Navy taught during the age of sail, "A ships a
fool to fight a fort."

Chinook supporters also prop up their argument by referencing the
helicopter's high altitude performance in Afghanistan. The facts show,
though, that three Chinooks were lost in one engagement - a rescue
operation to boot - at a place called Roberts Ridge. Wags claim
tongue-in-cheek that the Chinook can fly high and fly far, and be shot
down within visual range of the survivors it is trying to rescue.

The bottom line is that the Army - Chinook owners and operators with 40
years of experience - have chosen to whenever possible avoid using the
vulnerable CH-47 in the manner as the Air Force proposes to do so. The
reasoning? In demanding, dangerous combat rescue operations where
ninja-style stealth (of the old fashioned sneaking-around kind, not the
high technology radar-absorbing kind) and agility count for much more
than brute strength and carrying capacity. While the Chinook can
doubtless carry plenty of armour, the ultimate test of a CSAR helicopter
is, to paraphrase Sun Tzu, to defeat the enemy without engaging the
enemy.

A pointed editorial in the December 11th edition of the Air Force Times
- a publication not known for taking sides -- observes that while the
Chinook may have a greater hauling capacity, "it would not be ideal for
the most typical search-and-rescue missions: flying into enemy territory
and plucking one or two airmen out of harm's way." The editors go on to
note, that "for that job, a quieter, more agile, smaller helicopter --
one that isn't such an inviting target -- would be preferable."

Why the Air Force decision to select the Chinook when operational
experience argues otherwise? Again according to the Air Force Times
editors: "There are grumblings the decision smacks of the heavy hand of
Defense Department leaders who want to limit airframes to ease logistics
and budgetary concerns. But for this life-and-death job, the ability to
succeed and to safeguard the lives of both rescuers and rescued should
be paramount. If that means the competition must begin anew, so be it."
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes it has tons of power, but it's waaaay too big for our mission. We don't need extra space for a RAMZ/ATV/whatever.

The GAO upheld Lockheed's and Sikorsky's protests and the AF is going to put out a new RFP sometime in May to rebid the contract. Here's hoping it's one of the other two.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess is the H92 will end up with it. It seems to fit the bill much more closely.

Have nothing against the 47 but like you say its a heck of a big machine for CSAR.

Ned
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helicopter bidding reopens in May

Associated Press
Published April 26, 2007

The Air Force on Wednesday said it will open new bidding for a disputed $15 billion helicopter contract in May.

Late last month, the Air Force said it would revise and reopen the contract, which had been awarded to Boeing Co. The decision came after a government watchdog agency backed a complaint filed by losing bidders, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Sikorsky Aircraft, a division of United Technologies Corp.

The Air Force's announcement of when the new bidding will open may have been delayed by an April 4 document request made by Sen. John McCain, industry observers said.

The Arizona Republican sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne, seeking information on how the department identified, evaluated and developed specific criteria for the contract.

The Government Accountability Office, which investigates how taxpayer dollars are spent, said in its Feb. 26 recommendation that the deal should be rebid. It said how the Air Force evaluated the bids was "inconsistent" with what had been requested in the bidding documents.

The Air Force said it plans to meet with all three original bidders to answer questions before the new competition is opened next month.

"This is a critical program that needs to get under way without any delays," said Joe LaMarca, a Boeing spokesman

Lockheed spokesman Greg Caires said the company is seeking a competition that will consider its proposal on merit.
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heli-Ops wrote:
My guess is the H92 will end up with it. It seems to fit the bill much more closely.

Have nothing against the 47 but like you say its a heck of a big machine for CSAR.

Ned


I'm hoping for the 92. Much better choice than the 47. 101 has more power, but the 92 comes with a lot to offer, like a simulator for every squadron in the Air Force for example! That would be amazing not to have to travel all the way to Kirtland every year!
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 5:03 pm    Post subject: Air Force releases changes to CSAR-X RFP Reply with quote

The contentious CSAR-X program has released draft changes to the RFP as the big helo developers scramble to win the $15B prize that was originally awarded to Boeing and then sucessfully contested: http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2007/05/airforce_csarx_070520w/
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