The sad thing is, they are relying on aging choppers to carry out the mission. The HH-47 has been tied up in a string of protests and media battles (the KC-X aerial tanker has touched this off, too).
One wishes that people might be able to remember the admonition Defensetech.org laid out this past August.
Sober people can debate the strengths and weaknesses of the Boeing win. We’re agnostic on the issue other than to say that it seems the Air Force picked a heavy lift helicopter for a medium lift job. Hearing the Boeing folks talk about the superior range, speed and payload of the HH-47 was kind of like hearing Boeing say the C-17 is better than the Lockheed Martin C-130…of course, they’re different aircraft in separate classes.It really doesn't get any simpler than that. The Air Force is doing its part in the war on terror. We need to back them up with the best possible equipment and plenty of it.
But it’s starting to get to the point where the debate has devolved into the arcane world of defense contracting procedure and who dotted which “i” and crossed what “t” and when. At the same time, America has hundreds of thousands of troops worldwide in combat who will need this capability and it may start getting to the point where the bickering comes at the cost of our troops’ lives.