CVLSP Program Stays Alive

The Air Force has marked Fiscal 2010 dollars for its program to replace Vietnam War-era UH-1N helicopters used primarily to help protect the nation’s ICBM fields, keeping alive the goal of having new platforms in place and ready for use in 2015, Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Karen Platt tells the Daily Report. The service seeks $9.5 million in research and development funds for the Common Vertical Lift Support Platform. The money would “continue Air Force program office activities,” according to Platt. Service budget documents for Fiscal 2010 show that these funds would support system trade studies and lead to the release of a request for proposal early next year. The Air Force has long sought to replace its UH-1s, which average more than 39 years in age and are “well past” their designated service life, both in terms of age and cumulative flight hours, says Platt. But it hasn’t had the funds to put toward the program in past years, given more pressing priorities like a new aerial tanker and a new combat search and rescue helicopter. Besides age, the UH-1s have limited range and cannot carry a full-sized security response team around the vast ICBM fields. Plus, Air Force officials have said they would like a faster and potentially more heavily armed platform. (For more on CVLSP, read USAF’s ‘Other’ Helicopter Program.)