DOD Expects Huey Replacement by 2021
—BRIAN EVERSTINE, AF ASS’N
The Pentagon’s supplemental request calls for a $1.8 billion increase in Air Force aircraft procurement, a step that could help move forward the deployment of new aircraft to the Air Force’s missile fields. During a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday both senators from Montana—home to Malmstrom Air Force Base—blasted the Pentagon for current plans to get the Air Force new helicopters to replace the UH-1N Hueys at its missile bases around 2021, saying that’s just too far away. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said Congress last year increased the President’s budget request for the helicopter replacement, but that schedule still has not held. Defense Secretary James Mattis said the “impact of sequestration ripples through everything we do” and original plans may not hold as budgets are limited and changes need to be made. The 2021 replacement is Mattis’s current goal. “I intend to have this solved, sir,” Mattis said. The Air Force released a draft request for proposals for the new helicopters in December, and expects another RFP in the summer.