(Bloomberg) — U.S. Air Force plans to hold a competition to replace its Vietnam-era helicopters guarding nuclear missile silos in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota, according to Senator Steve Daines, R-Mont.
- NOTE: Air Force’s decision comes after several members of Congress have made the case for Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to quickly replace the aging UH-1N Hueys
- Air Force has been weighing whether to use an obscure Depression-era law that would permit it to buy Black Hawks through an already existing U.S. Army contract
- Daines said in press release competition is “slowest proposed route.”
- NOTE: Daines met with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James today; Malmstrom Air Force base which houses nuclear missiles is in his home state Daines: “We have an obligation to secure our nuclear weapons at Malmstrom. Right now, our world’s most powerful weapons are sitting unsecured in Americans’ backyards”
- Daines, a member of the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee, called for the National Guard to be activated “immediately” to protect the missiles
- NOTE: Vietnam-era UH-1 N Huey helicopters that are used to guard nuclear missile fields and ferry VIPs in high-security situations
- NOTE: Nuclear mission could be worth about $1 billion for contractor who wins competition: