The Air Force last Thursday said it will release a second draft request for proposals (RFP) in April for its UH-1N Huey helicopter replacement program following industry feedback that their current platforms don’t meet all the requirements contained in the draft, a development that means the release of the final RFP will be delayed until this summer.

“Following release of the draft RPF, interested offerors identified that their off-the-shelf platforms would not meet all threshold requirements,” the Air Force said in a statement. “Consequently, the Air Force is shifting the acquisition approach to a pre-Milestone C entry to allow for integration of Non-Developmental Items (NDI). This will allow interested offerors an opportunity to integrated NDI into their off-the-shelf platform to meet all requirements for the UH-1N replacement.”

Bell UH-1Y Huey. Photo: Bell
Bell UH-1Y Huey. Photo: Bell

Milestone C refers to a Pentagon decision event to decide if a program is ready to transition from development to production. The initial draft RFP was issued on Dec. 2, 2016.

The final RFP was supposed to be issued this month but is now slated for release sometime this summer, the Air Force said.

“The Air Force still plans to award a contract in FY ’18 that results in delivery of the first operational helicopter in the FY ‘20/21 timeframe,” the statement said. “We will continue a robust dialogue with industry as this program moves forward.”

The Bell UH-1N Hueys are used by the Air Force to protect their Minuteman III inter-continental ballistic missiles that are based at several locations around the United States and for VIP transport. Bell is a segment of Textron [TXT].

Air Force plans call for acquiring 84 UH-1N replacement helicopters.