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Army to Retire Huey, Cobra Helicopters

Aired September 7, 2001 - 10:52   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking new coming out of the Pentagon; word of a retirement underway there.

Let's go to our Jamie McIntyre to get the word -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, a venerable Vietnam-era warrior is being retired. The army announced today the UH-1 Iroquois better helicopter, better known as the Huey, has been a workhorse of the Army since Vietnam War. But the Army announced today that, as part of its helicopter reorganization plan, they're going to be retiring all of their fleet of Huey helicopters, along with the Vietnam-era Cobra helicopter as well as the Army tries to reduce the number of helicopters and increase their operating efficiency. Part of a reorganization plan as the Army tries to move into the 21st century.

But again, part of the reduction is the retirement of two types of Army helicopters. One of them the -- anybody who served in Vietnam or ever saw a Vietnam-era movie is familiar with this helicopter. It will be retired by the end of 2003. The Cobra helicopters will be out by the end of this year. And in 2003 the Army will then be down to just four types of helicopters. They're hoping that the money they save by eliminating these two older-generation helicopters they can use to get the operating rate of the remaining helicopters up from about 75 percent to 90 percent. And they say will make up for the loss of about 1,000 helicopters.

Also, they're anxiously awaiting their next-generation helicopter, known as the Comanche. That high-tech helicopter for reconnaissance purposes is scheduled to come on-line in 2006 -- Leon.

HARRIS: All right, thanks Jamie. A most honorable discharge for the Huey. Appreciate it; we'll talk to you later on.

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