Special Metals Intrude on Rescue Helo Bid

CSARX-47-web.jpg

In today's headlines at Military.com, we ran the following story on still more delays to the re-bidding of the CSAR-X competition. This time it's one of Congress' protectionist mandates, forcing the bidders to restrict the use of imported specialty metals.

From Military.com:

The long-anticipated awarding of a $10 billion contract for a military search-and-rescue helicopter has been delayed again -- from July to October -- to comply with changes in the law restricting use of imported specialty metals.

Boeing said April 14 that it had received a draft of the new bid proposal, called Amendment 6, in what the Air Force calls its CSAR-X competition.

Great...this is going to help us with domestic competition, entry into world markets and smoothing over images of a "go-it-alone" foreign policy isn't it?

And, as if Boeing needs more headaches as it wages the Tanker War with EADS/NorGrum...

The latest draft of the bid request, which incorporates changes in the law on the use of specialty metals, was issued last week. Boeing said April 14 that it would submit comments and questions today.

Boeing said the drive shaft, transmission, leading edges of the blades, and other critical parts contained high-strength steels, titanium and other specialty metals.

It could not say how much foreign specialty metal is used in its CSAR-X entry or the Army CH-47 F and G models, which it builds in the suburbs of Philadelphia for transport and special-operations missions. The United States has long sought to use domestic sources for those metals.

The rivals are single-rotor aircraft: Sikorsky H-92 Superhawk and Lockheed Martin US101, which is based on a design developed in Europe. The US101 has been selected for the new "Marine One" presidential helicopters and is destined to replace the aging Sikorsky VH-3D Sea Kings in that role.

And doesn't this restriction seem to prejudice anything made in Europe, like the US101? So much for free and open competition in a world market. Maybe the Soviets had it right after all...

-- Christian

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