Aircrew training: race begins for search and rescue contract.The Air Force is preparing to award a contract worth as much as $500 million over the next five years to provide training for its combat search and rescue A specific task performed by rescue forces to effect the recovery of distressed personnel during war or military operations other than war. Also called CSAR. See also search and rescue. personnel.
The job--dubbed aircrew training and rehearsal support II, or ATARS ATARS Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System
ATARS Advanced Tactical Air Reconnaissance System
ATARS Aircrew Training And Rehearsal Support
ATARS Automated Traffic Advisory and Resolution Service (aviation collision avoidance system) II--essentially will be a follow on to a $277-million, six-year award originally won in 2000 by Lockheed Martin Information Systems, of Orlando, Fla., said program manager Greg Riddle, in the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
A total of 11 companies have expressed interest in the contract, Riddle told National Defense. Among them are Lockheed Martin; L3 Communications, of New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. and Canada-based CAE (1) (Computer-Aided Engineering) Software that analyzes designs which have been created in the computer or that have been created elsewhere and entered into the computer. .
The service plans to award the contract in August or September, with the work to start in January 2007, Riddle said. The winner will provide mission-qualification training and mission-rehearsal system hardware, software and courseware, including instructors, for Air Force special operations units at Kirtland Air Force Base Kirtland Air Force Base is located in the southeast quadrant of Albuquerque, New Mexico, adjacent to the Albuquerque International Sunport. The base is the third largest installation in Air Force Materiel Command, covering 51,558 acres (209 km²) and employing over 23,000 people, , N.M.; Hurlburt Field, Fla., and Harrisburg, Pa.
The training will cover the MH53J/M J/M Just Messin' Pave Low, UH-1N Huey and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters; the CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, and several special-operations versions of the C-130 Hercules fixed-wing transport.
"Basically, the contract will be the same sustainment version that we currently have with Lockheed Martin, which is primarily for combat search-and-rescue mission rehearsals," Riddle said.
The winning contractor will not provide new simulators but use 38 existing ones, which the Air Force has employed for years. "Some of those puppies are more than 15 years old," he said.
The simulators run the gamut from 'very simple desktop versions to full-bloom weapons trainers that provide the ultimate Disney ride in a duplicate of an aircraft cockpit," Riddle said.
Plans for the contract may be complicated, however, by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley's announcement in February that responsibility for most of his service's active-duty combat search and rescue units will be transferred from the Air Force Special Operations Command Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) was established 22 May, 1990,with headquarters at Hurlburt Field, Fla. AFSOC is a United States Air Force (USAF) major command and is the air component to the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), a unified command , which is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, to the Air Combat Command, which is based at Langley Air Force Base Langley Air Force Base, U.S. military installation, 3,195 acres (1,293 hectares), SE Va., N of Hampton; est. 1917 and named for aviation pioneer Samuel P. Langley. , Va.
"That just dropped out of the sky on us," Riddle said. "It looks like we're going to get a fourth master."
Currently, three commands--the U.S. Special Operations Command A subordinate unified or other joint command established by a joint force commander to plan, coordinate, conduct, and support joint special operations within the joint force commander's assigned operational area. Also called SOC. See also special operations. , AFSOC AFSOC Air Force Special Operations Command
AFSOC Air Force special operations component (US DoD) and the Air Force Air Education and Training Command--have a role in administering the ATARS contract, he explained. Now, it appears that the Air Combat Command also will join the management team.
Moseley said the change will ensure that combat search and rescue is directly linked to the combat air forces and the personnel they support, thus consolidating the management of limited Air Force resources.
Under ACC See adaptive cruise control. command, these assets can be mobilized faster during a national crisis, integrated into combat training and tasked to support all air and space expeditionary force rotations Moseley said.
The transfer is the second one in recent years for combat search and rescue. Those units were moved in 2003 from the Air Combat Command to the Air Force Special Operations Command because their missions, training and equipment seemed to be similar.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, however, air combat commanders complained that it sometimes could be difficult to get quick approval for search-and-rescue missions from Air Force special operations.
The transfer affects active-duty combat search-and-rescue personnel and their aircraft--primarily HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130P/N (Part/Number) Common shorthand for part number. fixed-wing transports--based in the continental United States United States territory, including the adjacent territorial waters, located within North America between Canada and Mexico. Also called CONUS. . Those units assigned to U.S. Air Forces Europe and Pacific, the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve are not affected.
Currently, combat search-and-rescue personnel make up more than a third of the Air Force Special Operations Command's 19,000 active-duty, Reserve, Guard and civilian membership.
Plans for the ATARS II contract also could be complicated by the Air Force's announcement in February that it plans to begin replacing the current fleet of HH-60G combat search-and-rescue helicopters with 141 new versions, called CSAR-X. Previously, it was known as the personnel recovery vehicle.
The service expects to begin purchasing CSAR-X in 2009, with delivery starting in 2011, said Lt. Col. Dave Morgan, a combat search-and-rescue program official.
"CSAR-X is a completely unknown aircraft," Riddle said. "That's a winner-take-all contract. The winner gets to build the sims too."
The Air Force is looking for a larger helicopter with greater range than the HH-60G. Competitors include:
* A team led by Lockheed Martin, offering the US101 helicopter, an American-built version of Augusta Westland's EH101 Eurocopter. The US 101 was chosen recently to replace the current Marine One presidential helicopter.
* Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., of Stratford, Conn., with its H-92 Superhawk. The H92 is an upgraded version of the H-60s series of helicopters, which includes the Pave Hawk.
* Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (Boeing IDS), based in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, is a unit of The Boeing Company responsible for defense and aerospace products and services. , of St. Louis, Mo., proposing the HH-47 CSAR-X tandem rotor aircraft. The HH-47 is a variant of the MH-47G special operations Chinook.