Sitrep: The Air Force’s senior-citizen chopper may have to hold off retirement

Video: The 48-year-old Huey, made famous in Vietnam, could be waiting even longer for its relief.

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The US Air Force has some of the most high-tech aircraft in the world flying missions at the spear's tip. But a remarkably large number of its systems are what would gently be referred to as "vintage"—and those systems are performing some of the Air Force's most important missions. One of those senior-citizen systems earned its wings during the war in Vietnam—the 48-year-old UH-1 Iroquois, also known as the "Huey".

We've reported frequently on the role that the A-10 Thunderbolt II fills for the Air Force. The 1970s-era turbofan-powered tank-killer turned close-air-support-provider-extraordinaire is constantly called upon in Afghanistan and Syria to provide firepower to protect US and allied forces. The B-52, the strategic bomber that entered service in the 1950s, has years of service still ahead of it—flying long-duration missions ranging from strategic deterrence to close air support in uncontested skies. And the land leg of the US nuclear triad, the Minuteman III ICBM, entered service in the 1960s.

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