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​A UH-1N Iroquois from the 54th Helicopter Squadron flies over Minot AFB’s missile complex, N.D., on Jan. 25, 2017. Air Force photo by A1C J.T. Armstrong

​The head of US Strategic Command targeted the Air Force’s acquisition process for repeated delays on replacing the aging UH-1Ns that defend the nation’s nuclear missile fields, saying the slow process has been “unacceptable.” STRATCOM chief Air Force Gen. John Hyten, testifying during a Tuesday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, said “it’s a helicopter for gosh sakes. We’ve been building combat helicopters for decades. … I don’t understand why the heck it is so difficult.” Hyten in 2007 issued the requirements for the Huey replacement, but repeated delays have pushed the replacement until about 2021, Defense Secretary James Mattis told lawmakers March 22. The helicopters are needed to help security forces defend the missile fields “sooner rather than later,” Hyten said. “I want all hands on deck to get a new helicopter into the force,” a visibly angry Hyten said during the hearing.