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Fri, May 08, 2009

White House Aero-Hit-List #2: Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR-X) Helicopter

$17 Billion Cut... But Trillions More Spent Elsewhere

The Obama Administration, in the process of spending trillions of dollars for all manner of programs and projects, is trumpeted the 17 Billion dollars it is trying to cut from the Federal Budget. Rather than try to digest them all en masse, we'll look at each of them one at a time and allow you to make up YOUR mind as to the rationale and wisdom for the decisions included below. Herewith; another of the programs on the chopping block that has an aviation or aerospace connotation.

From the 'Terminations, Reductions, and Savings' document published this week by the OMB, as part of the FY 2010 US Budget:

Proposal: The Administration proposes to terminate the Air Force Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR-X) Helicopter Program because of problems with contracting, high costs, and questions about the need for an aircraft solely devoted to this purpose when multi-purpose aircraft are available.

Justification: The Department of Defense is questioning the need for a single-purpose helicopter. Unlike the other services, which carry out this mission with multiple-purpose helicopters, the Air Force has traditionally carried out this mission with single-purpose aircraft. The Department will review the combat search and rescue mission in the context of multi-service requirements and capabilities.
Further, this program has experienced contracting problems that have led to delays and higher costs. A prime contractor was selected but, because of multiple protests by the losing contractors, the program has not begun development. The Congressional Budget Office, Government Accountability Office, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) all reported that faulty contracting actions would result in costly delays with no clear resolution. The original estimate for the program was approximately $11.5 billion. Funding in 2010 will be used for a requirements review and in support of the CSAR mission as determined in the Quadrennial Defense Review.

FMI: www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/trs.pdf

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