The U.S. Air Force issued a request for proposals (RFP) for its “high priority” combat rescue helicopter (CRH) acquisition on October 19. The RFP begins a second campaign to replace the service’s HH-60G Pave Hawk search-and-rescue helicopters. In 2009 the Pentagon cancelled the original replacement program, which had been awarded three years earlier to Boeing for the HH-47 Chinook, after successive contractor protests and delays.
The CRH requirement is for 112 helicopters to be delivered over 14 years if all options are exercised. The Air Force intends to award a contract in the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2013. The “plans include leveraging in-production air vehicles and training systems while integrating existing technologies to deliver this new combat capability,” the service said in a release. Proposals are due by January 3 and any proposal exceeding $6.84 billion total cost will not be considered.
According to the RFP, nine helicopters will be procured during the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase; 18 during low-rate initial production (LRIP); and the remaining 85 during full-rate production. The EMD and LRIP contracts will be awarded on a fixed-price incentive firm (FPIF) basis. “The competitively awarded CRH contract will [provide incentives for] you to reduce costs and share in the savings through the FPIF contract during EMD and LRIP,” according to the RFP. The full-rate production contract will be a firm fixed-price agreement.
In September, AgustaWestland and Northrop Grumman announced a teaming agreement to respond to the RFP with the three-engine AW101 helicopter. Among other expected contenders, Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin will likely offer an advanced version of the UH-60M Black Hawk and Boeing the CH-47 Chinook. The Bell Boeing V-22 tiltrotor is also a possible contender.