Get on With It
New ICBM advocate sees urgency in replacing Vietnam-war era Hueys that protect missile fields.
—Michael C. Sirak
October 2, 2009—Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, who heads USAF’s new nuclear-centric major command, on Friday reiterated the Air Force’s need for a new fleet of helicopters to replace the Vietnam War-era UH-1N Hueys that help protect the nation’s ICBM fields.
“We need to move on” with the replacement program, Klotz told a small group of reporters after his breakfast speech on Capitol Hill that was sponsored by the National Defense University Foundation.
Klotz’s organization, Air Force Global Strike Command, will assume lead responsibility for the Hueys and their notional successor platform, when it gains control of the Air Force’s ICBM forces in December from Air Force Space Command. At that time, Klotz will also become the principal advocate for the Huey replacement, which the Air Forces provisionally calls the Common Vertical Lift Support Platform.
But even before formally assuming that role, Klotz did not shy away Friday from making the case for CVLSP.
While the Huey is “a venerable workhorse,” Klotz said it is simply not suited for the post-9/11 requirements of providing security at the missile sites. To do that effectively, he said, the service needs “a platform that has greater range, greater speed, and greater payload, and thus the ability to carry more security forces personnel.”
Klotz said “all options are on the table,” when asked if the Air Force might be leaning toward one approach over others to acquire the CVLSP, such as buying Blackhawk helicopters off of the Army’s current production line as the Air Force intends to do in Fiscal 2010 to replace some losses of HH-60G Pave Hawks combat search and rescue helicopters.
Current planning has the new helicopters entering service around 2015.
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