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

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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 2020 in order to award the Combat Rescue Helicopter, or 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,” James said. “This mission is part of the military ethos, and the Air Force is committed to providing it.”

The award is expected not later than June 2014. Before moving forward with the award, the program must go through several reviews to include a Milestone B review to officially start the program and an independent cost assessment. 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,” James said.  “We will need to work with Congress throughout 2015 budget deliberations, and if the FY 16 DOD budget request drops back to sequestration levels, this program, along with many others, will need to be relooked.”

(Courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)

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

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