The Air Force has issued a request for information from industry on the in-production helicopter designs that are well-suited to be the Common Vertical Lift Support Platform, the much-desired replacement to the service’s Vietnam War-era UH-1N Huey helicopters. Those Hueys protect the nation’s ICBM fields, shuttle VIPs, and rescue civilians. Per the solicitation, USAF anticipates acquiring up to 93 new platforms to supplant its 62 Hueys. It wants the first operational unit of six platforms ready for use by September 2015. Among its attributes, CVLSP should be capable of carrying nine combat-equipped troops and four crew members, able to maintain at least 135 knots air speed, and fly 225 nautical miles unrefueled. The Air Force has had its eyes on a Huey successor for a long time, but only recently been able to fence off some funding to advance the project.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.