Military

Museum to Celebrate Helicopter Day as US Air Force Grapples with Huey Replacement

By S.L. Fuller, Rich Abott | May 9, 2017
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A UH-1N Iroquois from the 54th Helicopter Squadron flies over Minot Air Force Base’s missile complex, N.D., Jan. 25, 2017. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

A UH-1N Iroquois from the 54th Helicopter Squadron flies over Minot Air Force Base’s missile complex. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

Helicopter Day at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska is set to get attendees up-close and personal with aircraft, crews and pilots. Sponsored by Midwest Medical Transportation, the event is slated for May 27.

The Nebraska National Guard would land first with a Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota, Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and a Boeing CH-47 Chinook. Pilots from law enforcement, commercial and private operations would also be represented. After the fly-in, attendees can converse with the pilots and check out the aircraft. Helicopter rides would also be available. The museum also plans to hold events inside, including a drone workshop and interactive displays in the Children’s Learning Center.

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As the UH-72 and UH-60 fly in, the U.S. Air Force is trying to fly out its Bell Helicopter UH-1N. The Air Force is struggling to replace its legacy fleet, and it released a second draft request for proposal (RFP) for the replacement program April 20. The final request is expected to be released this summer, with the contract award coming in fiscal year 2018 and delivery two or three years later.

Airbus Helicopters appears to be contemplating a no-bid, advocating for two aircraft while the Air Force is leaning toward a single helicopter. Defense Daily reported that the company said it believes intercontinental ballistic missile security and VIP transport should be carried out by two separate aircraft. Other potential bidders include Boeing (teamed with Leonardo), Sikorsky and Bell. The service is looking to procure 84 aircraft. The final contract award could be worth as much as $900 million.

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