Each of the existing U.S. Air Force UH-1N Huey helicopter bases will receive replacement aircraft, the service announced on June 20.
The Air Force is replacing the UH-1N Huey 46-year-old fleet by procuring new replacement aircraft to support four missions – Nuclear Deterrence Operations, Continuation of Government (COG) Operations, Survival School support, and Test and Training.
Current UH-1N Huey locations include Eglin Air Force Base’s Duke Field, Florida; Fairchild AFB, Washington; FE Warren AFB, Wyoming; Joint Base Andrews-Naval Air Facility Washington, Maryland; Kirtland AFB, New Mexico; Malmstrom AFB, Montana; and Minot AFB, North Dakota.
The Air Force UH-1N Huey replacement program supports the Defense Department’s principal priority to maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent that safeguards the homeland, assures allies and deters adversaries. The replacement for the UH-1N Huey will feature significant improvements in the areas of speed, range, endurance, payload capacity and survivability.
Each stateside active duty UH-1N Huey location will receive replacement aircraft pending the outcome of the environmental analysis.
The 2016 Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Requirements Oversight Council approved the purchase of new aircraft to replace the 46-year-old UH-1N Huey fleet. A contract award for the new aircraft is anticipated later this year with deliveries planned for 2020-2032.
U.S. Air Force UH-1N Huey replacement program
The U.S. Air Force UH-1N replacement program aims to replace the service’s current fleet of UH-1N Twin Huey helicopters.
Orginal RFP draft laid out specified that the replacement helicopters should be able to carry nine combat-loaded troops, as well as weapons, with the ability to hit cruise speeds of at least 135 knots.
The aircraft’s primary missions are guarding and protecting the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch sites. It has to be also used for search-and-rescue (SAR) missions, routine missile site support and aerial testing.
The aircraft should also provide secure and survivable emergency transport to support Continuity of Government (COG) Operations transport in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Air Force currently operates 62 Hueys but has a requirement to replace them with 84 aircraft. The service plans to award the contract in fiscal 2018, with the first operational helicopter delivery in the fiscal 2020-2021 timeframe.
The competitors for the UH-1N Huey replacement program are:
+ Lockheed Martin offering HH-60U ‘Ghost Hawk’, a variant of the UH-60 Black Hawk medium-lift military utility helicopter.
+ Boeing-Leonardo team offering Boeing MH-139, a militarized version of AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) AW139 commercial medium-lift helicopter.
+ Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) offering UH-60L Force Hawk, an upgraded surplus U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. L3 Technologies and Ace Aeronautics are serving as subcontractors on SNC’s bid.
If the Boeing-Leonardo team emerged victorious, it would mark the first time Leonardo has sold a rotary-wing aircraft to the Pentagon. It is also worthy to note that Bell, the manufacturer of the Huey light utility helicopter, is not be among the competitors.