Air Force officials on Monday announced that the service will pursue two separate competitions—both full and open—to acquire a new personnel recovery helicopter and future utility helicopter. The new recovery chopper will replace the service’s aging and heavily utilized HH-60G Pave Hawks, while the new utility platform will supplant its Vietnam War-era UH-1N Hueys. Maj. Gen. Randy Fullhart, director for global reach programs in USAF’s acquisition shop, said the service anticipates “that a derivative of helicopters already in production will be able to meet warfighter requirements.” He added that “the ability of offerors to meet requirements at best value to the taxpayer will be invaluable.” The request for proposal for the HH-60 recapitalization platform is anticipated in 2012. The service aims to replace 112 Pave Hawks. The draft solicitation for the Common Vertical Lift Support Platform that will succeed the Huey is scheduled for release this summer, leading to the first CVLSP unit being ready for operations in 2015. The Air Force wants 93 CVLSPs for roles like protecting the nation’s ICBM fields. (SAF/PA report by MSgt. Amaani Lyle)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.