Friday, December 14, 2012

New CSAR Helo for the USAF?

A few years ago the Air Force had the first round of the CSRX and selected a version of the medium lift MH-47 Chinook to be its new helo replacing the MH-53 Pave Low that was retired after many years of service.  After this selection Sikorsky protested the award and just like the abortive Air Force tanker contract the helo competition had to be re-bid.
This happened earlier this week and guess what, nobody bid expect for Sikorsky using the same platformm that lost before an upgraded UH-60M Blackhawk.

The Air Force has had to buy some UH-60M to flesh out the existing PaveHawk fleet and has complained for years about wanting a larger bird with more legs for this role. This bid if allowed to stand does nothing to improve this situation.

What I don't understand is why they just don't piggyback with the USMC and buy the new CH-53K and apply the Pavelow mods to the platform and voila they would have a heavy lift helicopter more suitable for the special operation role than the much smaller UH-60M. This makes to much common sense so there is no hope of this actually happening even though the face of combat rescue is changing and the need to haul a larger PJ contingent with additional equipment would be easier done with a MH-53K heavy lift bird.

Below is a photo of the new CH-53K and a nice video of the PaveLow in action.


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