WASHINGTON, March 4 The U.S. Air Force on
Tuesday said it would take $430 million from other priorities to
fund development of a new combat rescue helicopter by United
Technologies Corp's Sikorsky Aircraft, the only company
that bid for the work.
The Air Force cited the importance of the rescue mission in
a statement explaining its last-minute decision to proceed with
the Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) program just hours after
Pentagon budget documents showed the program was being delayed.
"Moving forward with the CRH contract award protects a good
competitive price and effectively uses the $334 million Congress
appropriated for the program," Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee
James said in a statement.
The Air Force said it expected to award a contract to
Sikorsky by the end of June after a review by senior Pentagon
officials and an independent cost estimate.
James said the program could still face challenges in
Congress and would have to be reevaluated if mandatory budget
cuts resumed in fiscal 2016.