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R.I.P. CSAR-X: The Air Force on Tuesday pounded another nail in the coffin of its now-cancelled CSAR-X program, by “terminating for convenience” its $712 million contract with Boeing from 2006 for the system development and demonstration phase of the HH-47 rescue helicopter. “This contract termination is a result of the CSAR-X program cancellation directed by the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics,” the Air Force wrote in its brief statement, which appeared in the June 2 list of new Pentagon contracts. Why the need for this step, if the CSAR-X program is already history? Well, Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Karen Platt told the Daily Report yesterday that, technically speaking, the stop-work order from Nov. 22, 2006, had still been in effect for the contract that Boeing received from the Air Force for HH-47 work on Nov. 9, 2006, when it won the original CSAR-X competition over Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky. That stop-work order was never lifted as the CSAR-X program remained bogged down in legal protests and the Air Force’s efforts to resolve them up until Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ April 6 announcement that he was killing the program. But just because the original CSAR-X contract is now officially toast doesn’t mean that the need for a new rescue platform has gone away, and the Air Force leadership is working to convince Defense Secretary Robert Gates that a new USAF rescue bird would not be a single-service platform for an inherently joint mission, as Gates maintains.