Military, Products

CSAR-X: Whence That Fifth S-92 Blade?

By James T. McKenna | April 16, 2008

Where did that fifth blade on Sikorsky Aircraft's S-92-based Combat Search and Rescue X (CSAR-X) proposal come from? The added blade has been in trade press headlines for a couple of weeks. The stories cite the fifth blade as a recent change prompted by the two-year delay in the U.S. Air Force's contract award; the added blade was planned for follow-on Block 10 CSAR-X aircraft but moved forward to the initial Block 0 configuration, they report. That award, originally made in November 2006 to Boeing for 141 aircraft based on the CH-47, was set back by successful protests from Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky. The Air Force aims to make a new award by October. Sikorsky now says the fifth blade has been in its plans since at least early 2006. Its director of Air Force business development, Mike Farage, said he urged the change shortly after he joined the Sikorsky team. A former USAF rotary- and fixed-wing pilot and special-operations wing commander, Farage said the fifth blade gives the S-92 the maneuverability and performance needed for the CSAR mission. "We made a conscious decision back in 2005 to put a fifth blade on this thing," he said. "We did not go public with that. We just did that. It was never discussed outside Sikorsky and the Air Force channels." For related news

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