A request for proposals for a replacement of Global Strike Command’s aged UH-1N nuclear support helicopter force will be out in November, Air Force acquisition chief Darlene Costello told reporters at ASC16. “We’re going to see how much we can accelerate it,” she said, given that GSC’s need is urgent. An in-service date of 2021 is the goal, and industry has said that it can have test assets to the Air Force in 2019, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Costello’s deputy, added. “The requirement is for nine” security personnel to be carried aboard the aircraft, he said. The program will be a “full and open competition,” Costello said, and Bunch noted that while the buy objective is still in discussion, the number USAF seems to be settling on is 84 aircraft, of which 41 would be for the ICBM security mission. The 84 number includes allowing for a number of aircraft to be in depot, and for attrition. Fleet sizes “lower than 70-something” have been discussed, he added.
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