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​From left, 1st Lt. Greg Johnston, Capt. RJ Bergman, both 40th Helicopter Squadron rescue pilots, and SSgt. Ryan Oliver, 40th HS special missions aviator, perform a post-flight inspection on their UH-1N Huey after landing in Lewistown, Mont., on Jan. 27, 2015. Air Force photo by A1C Dillon Johnston.

The Air Force might accelerate the replacement of its Vietnam-era UH-1N Huey helicopters that protect ICBM fields by more than a year, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall told lawmakers Wednesday. Responding to a question from Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) during a Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing, Kendall said the service hasn't made a final decision, but is looking into accelerating the switch to new helicopters by buying them for existing units before having an allocation of force in place first, as currently planned. In March, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James told the House Armed Services Committee the service was considering sole-source and competitive processes. Kendall said a final decision has not yet been made, but he expects it “very, very soon.”