The Air Force awarded a $1.28 billion contract for the initial engineering and manufacturing development phase of the new combat rescue helicopter to Sikorsky Aircraft Company on June 26.
The contract also includes procurement of the first four of the program’s planned 112 aircraft.
“Over the last 10 years, the Air Force has discussed upgrading the platform that performs this sacred mission for all Department of Defense personnel who go into harm’s way,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “This mission is part of the military ethos, and the Air Force is committed to providing it.”
The Air Force is the primary service tasked to organize, train, equip and provide forces to conduct global personnel recovery operations with the specific capability to conduct theater-wide combat search and rescue.
“The resulting contract is $700 million below the government’s affordability target gate,” James said. “The government has performed a thorough analysis of the proposed price and concluded this contract award is a very good buy for the taxpayer.”
The combat search and rescue mission has saved more than 12,200 U.S., allied and host nation forces in conflicts worldwide, and combat rescue helicopters have played a necessary and vital role in missions worldwide, rescuing more than 5,000 people since Sept. 11, 2001.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III emphasized the importance of the combat rescue mission.
“We are committed to ensuring our airmen are equipped to rescue America’s warriors whenever and wherever necessary,” said Welsh. “This contract secures that mission for many years to come.”