The US Air Force is asking industry for information on how to increase the Bell UH-1N's endurance, range, speed, all-weather capability, survivability and equip it with modernized communication and navigation system capabilities. The USAF wants that requirement filled in fiscal years 2014 to 2018.
Given that laundry list, it sure sounds like the USAF basically wants to recreate the US Marine Corps' new Bell UH-1Y Venom--sans sensor ball. The Yankee has all of the characteristics that the USAF lists in its new Request for Information...
The Marines are buying new-build "Yankees," but had originally wanted to remanufacture their old Novembers.
This new Air Force endeavor basically replaces the service's Common Vertical Lift Support Platform (CVLSP) effort that was killed in the fiscal year 2013 budget proposal.
But the Air Force still has its Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) program, which it is working on... However, it does have a long and storied history of bungling helicopter acquisitions (And pretty much everything else too--LAS anyone? The KC-46 looks hopeful--for now).
So place your bets... will the Air Force drop the ball yet again on the CRH, or is it quadrillionth time lucky?