The U.S. Air Force has bought itself three more months to announce its new choice for a combat search and rescue helicopter.
The service on April 11 issued a draft change, the sixth, to its request for proposals for the Combat Search and Rescue X (CSAR-X) competition. It gave the three bidding teams until April 15 to comment on that draft before it was made final by the end of the month. Boeing is offering a CH-47 variant. Lockheed Martin, AgustaWestland and Bell Helicopter are proposing a version of the AW101, and Sikorsky Aircraft is offering a S-92 variant.
A key effect of the change is that it will push the Air Force’s announced selection of an aircraft to replace its aging Sikorsky CSAR HH-60G Pave Hawks from July to October. That in turn will push initial operational capability of the replacement fleet from the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2012 to the first quarter of Fiscal 2013.