Avant recours près le Government Accountability Office
La clef reste l’autonomie et la charge utile
Article d’Aviation Week :
Recent U.S. Air Force
interim reviews of the candidates vying for the service’s $15 billion combat,
search and rescue (CSAR-X) helicopter replacement show that the service indeed
is much more serious about making sure the winner meets a spectrum of key
requirements – including those that help it survive a war-zone mission –
according to sources familiar with the effort.
However, concerns remain
among those who helped draft the service’s initial CSAR-X aircraft requirements
that the Air Force still may be focusing too much on range and payload –
factors that helped the Boeing HH-47 Chinook variant beat out Lockheed Martin
and Sikorsky in the first go-round.
That Boeing victory was
upended after the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) twice sustained
protests by the losing bidders, who complained that the service didn’t properly
consider the lifecycle costs of each proposal.
This time it appears the
Air Force is looking to make its decision as protest-proof as possible, sources
say, not only by making lifecycle costs a lower priority in determining the
winner, but also by making the bidders address the requirements more
As part of that desire to
meet requirements, the Air Force has granted an extension to Jan. 20 to deliver
a revised proposal. The initial due date was Jan. 5
The major concern of those
who helped draft the initial CSAR-X requirements, though, is whether the
Pentagon understands exactly what a good CSAR aircraft needs to do. A recent
DOD Inspector General (IG) investigation of CSAR-X requirement changes found
that those alterations are in line with the needs of special operations forces
(SOF) fighting the so-called global war on terror.
While CSAR missions – and
CSAR-X requirement development – fell for a time under the purview of Air Force
special operations, the service’s own Analysis of Alternatives (AOA) found the
needs of the two camps to be significantly different.
Indeed, in interviews with
Aerospace DAILY, current and former CSAR pilots and rescue personnel say what
they need – a maneuverable aircraft that can survive a combat zone and allow
stable medical treatment in the air and on the ground – often does not rank
high on the SOF priority list.
Take rotor downwash as an
example, they said. SOF missions don’t include trying to secure an injured,
possibly unconscious crash victim on a litter while performing tricky triage at
the same time, and these tasks are almost impossible under a small tornado of
wind. Hovering higher to reduce downwash isn’t an option in a combat zone,
where higher altitudes can make one an easier target.
The IG finding, they said,
deeply troubled them. Comparing the CSAR mission with SOF operations
demonstrates a basic lack of understanding of the CSAR mission and needs, they
say. And even more troubling, according to rescuers, are recent remarks by
Pentagon acquisition chief John Young that he doubts whether the Air Force
needs a dedicated CSAR aircraft fleet for the mission.
On the one hand, some of
the material included in the service’s own CSAR AOA would provide fodder for
Young’s argument – a large percentage of CSAR missions were handled by the
closest available rescuers, not a dedicated aircraft. But the majority of
successful rescues were with dedicated aircraft.
Also, today’s combat zones
need a survivable platform unlike those in previous years, according to those
who have done the job. Range, payload, electronic warfare, ballistics tolerance
and maneuverability all come into play, they say, and any one of those
requirements could prove key in conducting and surviving a CSAR mission.
La présentation sur le site de Boeing du HH 47
Dernière édition par Xmad le Jeu 8 Jan 2009 - 12:09, édité 1 fois