Air Force set to award contract for replacing Huey helicopters by year-end

A UH-1N Huey helicopter from the 37th Helicopter Squadron at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., performs close air support during a joint training exercise in the Powder River Training Complex in western South Dakota, Dec. 7, 2017.


By WILLIAM HOWARD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 21, 2018

The Air Force is expected to award a contract by the end of the year to replace all active-duty UH-1N Huey helicopters, the service announced Thursday.

The Air Force will deliver replacement aircraft, pending an environmental analysis, to at least seven bases between 2020 and 2032, according to a service statement.

In 2016, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the purchase of 84 new aircraft to replace the 46-year-old fleet. The Air Force had 59 Hueys active as of 2015, according to the most recent figures on the service’s website.

Current competitors for the contract include the Sikorsky HH-60U Black Hawk, an upgraded UH-60L Black Hawk called the Force Hawk by Sierra Nevada Corp., and a militarized version of the Agusta Westland AW139 by Boeing and Leonardo.

The contract was originally to be awarded by the third quarter of fiscal 2018, but a pre-award protest by Sikorsky over control of intellectual property rights delayed the final decision.

Current UH-1N Huey locations include Eglin Air Force Base’s Duke Field, Fla.; Fairchild Airforce Base, Md.; F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; Joint Base Andrews-Naval Air Facility, Md.; Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.; Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.; and Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

The Huey’s primary missions include airlifts of emergency security forces, security and surveillance of off-base nuclear weapons convoys, and distinguished visitor transportation, according to the Air Force.

The Army flew its last UH-1 Huey on Dec. 15, 2016, while the Navy lists the HH-1N Iroquois variant as active for shore-based search and rescue duties.

The last combat deployment of the UH-1N by the Marines was to Afghanistan in 2010, and the service retired the helicopter during a ceremony at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans in 2014.

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A UH-1N Huey from the 37th Helicopter Squadron at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., prepares to return to Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., after completing a training objective in the Powder River Training Complex, S.D., Dec. 7, 2017.

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