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Air Force awards contract for new helicopter

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AFNS) -- Today the Air Force awarded the first portion of a $2.38 billion firm-fixed-price contract to The Boeing Company for a UH-1N Replacement helicopter.

"Strong competition drove down costs for the program, resulting in $1.7 billion in savings to the taxpayer,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.

The original service cost estimate was $4.1 billion.

Today’s award of approximately $375 million is for the first four helicopters and includes the integration of non-developmental items. This additional equipment integrated into the aircraft will ensure the helicopters are ready to meet warfighter needs upon delivery.

The total program cost for the UH-1N Replacement Program reflects the exercise of all options and provides for the acquisition and sustainment of up to 84 MH-139 helicopters, training devices and associated support equipment to replace the legacy UH-1Ns. The new helicopter will be an important tool for Airmen charged with securing and defending the nation's intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Air Force will also use the aircraft for training, test and operational support airlift.

The Air Force pursued a full and open competition to deliver increased capabilities to warfighters. This replacement will provide the necessary speed, range, endurance and carrying capacity needed to meet the requirements of five Air Force major commands, officials said.

"A safe, secure and effective nuclear enterprise is job one," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. "It is imperative that we field a capable and effective helicopter to replace UH-1Ns providing security for our ICBMs and nuclear deterrence operations."

The first operational helicopter delivery is expected in Fiscal Year 2021.

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