Our thanks goes out to an alert DT reader who brought to our attention a mitigating fact in the ongoing (fueled mostly by the protesting parties) debate over the CSAR-X program.
On August 21, DefenseTech posted a letter forwarded to us written by a former top general in the Air Force search and rescue community who had some pretty harsh words for the source selection officials and the ultimate decision to award Boeing with the CSAR-X contract.
He signed the letter with his name and former rank only. But what he left out is more revealing than what he put in his letter.
It turns out Maj. Gen. Richard Comer (ret.) is the executive vice president of Aerospace Integration Corporation based in Mary Esther, Fl. AIC announced with great glee in February of last year its selection as a partner with Sikorsky to do systems integration work for the companys HH-92 CSAR-X bid. Both Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin are protesting Boeings win.
In Comers letter, he outlines his credentials in the opening paragraph, but declines to mention hes employed by a Sikorsky subcontractor. He impugns the motives of the source selection officials in the Air Force, saying they were probably the victims of group think though he caveated his remarks by saying the officers were conscientious and honest in their decision.
Our reader knows Comer and was stung by his crass assertion without ever revealing that he has a financial interest in Boeings demise, selling his soul for 30 pieces of Sikorsky silver.
And he raises a very valid point. The source selectors in the DoD are precluded by law from discussing any of their motivations beyond the stated specifications and how the selected aircraft met them. But that hasnt stopped the protesters from pumping out info to folks like us here at DefenseTech undercutting Boeings win and fueling the fire of protest. The government folks can say nothing while the fur is flying.
Sober people can debate the strengths and weaknesses of the Boeing win. Were agnostic on the issue other than to say that it seems the Air Force picked a heavy lift helicopter for a medium lift job. Hearing the Boeing folks talk about the superior range, speed and payload of the HH-47 was kind of like hearing Boeing say the C-17 is better than the Lockheed Martin C-130of course, theyre different aircraft in separate classes.
But its starting to get to the point where the debate has devolved into the arcane world of defense contracting procedure and who dotted which i and crossed what t and when. At the same time, America has hundreds of thousands of troops worldwide in combat who will need this capability and it may start getting to the point where the bickering comes at the cost of our troops lives.
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