The US Air Force (USAF) has confirmed that each air force base (AFB) with a UH-1N Huey military helicopter will receive a new replacement aircraft.
USAF locations that currently host the UH-1N Huey aircraft include the Eglin AFB’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 UH-1N Huey replacement programme has been designed to support the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) primary commitment to maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent that helps protect the homeland, assure allies and deter adversaries.
Replacement helicopters will facilitate significant upgrades in speed, range, endurance, payload capacity and survivability.
New aircraft are being acquired by the airforce to help replace the 46-year-old UH-1N Huey twin-engine medium military helicopter fleet.
Once in service, replacement aircraft will help support four USAF missions, the nuclear deterrence operations, the continuation of government operations, survival school support, as well as test and training.
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The acquisition has been approved by the 2016 vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Requirements Oversight Council.
A contract for the delivery of the new aircraft fleet is expected to be awarded later this year and the helicopters are planned to be distributed between 2020 and 2032.
Built by Bell Helicopter / Textron, the UH-1N Huey is a light-lift utility helicopter used to support a wide range of missions such as emergency services airlift, security and surveillance of off-base nuclear weapons convoys, and distinguished visitor airlift.
The 17.44m-long helicopter can also be deployed for additional operations, including disaster response operations, airborne cable inspections, aircrew survival school support, aerial testing, and routine missile site support.