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The US Air Force will replace its aging fleet of 62 UH-1N Huey helicopters by 2015, with 93 commercially available common vertical lift support platform (CVLSP) helicopters.

Featuring electro-optical and infrared sensors, infrared countermeasures and night vision goggles, the CVLSP helicopters will be armored against 7.62mm small arms fire.

The CVLSP helicopter will have the capability to carry maximum fire power, so that it can do maximum damage to enemy infantry squads during one mission.

The CVLSP will be equipped with secure satellite communications and non-secure line-of-sight communications links.

The CVLSP will be able to carry nine passengers or 3,195lb of cargo, maintain a minimum of 135kt while flying at 6,500ft, and fly for at least three hours unrefuelled at 6,500ft.

The air force expects to acquire at least six CVLSP helicopters by 2015, and ten further aircraft by 30 September 2017, after it awards a contract for the helicopters in the beginning of 2012.

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By GlobalData

The air force has used the UH-1N helicopters since the 1970s for its Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming nuclear missile bases, for patrolling missile fields and for search and rescue missions.