Air Force Huey Replacement Could Carry More Troops
20 September 2016
The Air Force is considering a requirement that a replacement for the UH-1N Huey helicopter fleet must carry more troops than the current design, according to the service’s top nuclear official – a requirement that could give a big boost to one particular industry bidder.
Gen. Robin Rand, head of Air Force Global Strike Command, told reporters Monday at the annual Air Force Association conference here that he wants a Huey replacement that “can carry more people, go further and get there faster than what we’re currently able to do.”
Asked specifically if the new aircraft would be able to carry more than nine security force personnel when equipped, Rand was evasive, but indicated that was something being heavily weighed.
“The new helicopter will be able to carry more people than we can actually carry now. I’m not going to tell you what the requirement is," Rand added."The new helicopter [will] carry more people on it than what we can carry on the UH-1N.
The Air Force released a Request for Information on Sept. 9 to industry, with a response due by Sept. 26, 2016. The RFI solicitation says the service plans to buy up to 84 aircraft – an increase from the 72 that service officials had said they wanted in previous months -- to replace its fleet of Hueys, which are over 40 years old.
The Air Force anticipates a contract award in early FY18 and first deliveries starting no later than 12 months after contract award
Initially, the Air Force was considering a sole-source selection of Sikorsky’s Black Hawk design for the requirement. However, that plan triggered complaints from Congress, after which the service declared it would hold a “full and open” competition.
But if the size requirement does indeed require fitting more than nine security troops, it largely eliminates potential challengers and leaves the Black Hawk the clear winner, said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group.
He points out that such a requirement would force AgustaWestland to pitch either
Source : defensenews.com