Last month, Rep. Ryan Zinke requested funds to acquire new helicopters at Malmstrom Airforce Base. During that time in a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Zinke pressed Admiral Cecil Haney about the use of out-of-date Huey helos at Malmstrom.
“From talking to folks on the ground [at Malmstrom] and looking at it, and I concur, these are aging helicopters as well as they don’t have the lift and capacity. If they do get an alert situation, they just don’t have the hover time for the distances in Montana and I assume, Minot,” Zinke saidd.
“Congressman, absolutely,” Haney said. “The Air Force has a plan now by which they plan to work to replace those helicopters. But the attributes you listed are the attributes that concern me in terms of the capability now and into the future.”
In a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, Sen. Steve Daines led eight Senators in calling on the Air Force to expedite their decision on the course of action to replace Vietnam–era UH-1N helicopters that provide security for our nuclear weapons.
“We request the Air Force identify and put forth for congressional consideration the fastest and most cost effective method to replace the UH-1N helicopters as soon as possible,” the Senators wrote.”The Air Force has known the shortfalls of the UH-1N helicopter for too long; the cost of delaying action is far too great a risk for our nation to take.”