Marking a key development for U.S. Marine Corps aviation, Bell Helicopter, the manufacturer of the service’s H-1 Helicopter, delivered the 100th UH-1Y model to the U.S. government Jan. 16.
The aircraft was the 100th of 349 H-1 helicopters expected by the Marine Corps under the current program of record government contract.
The USMC Light/Attack Helicopters program (PMA-276) at NAS Patuxent River comprises both the UH-1Y utility and the AH-1Z attack aircraft.
“We are extremely proud of this aircraft,” said Marine Corps Col. Harry Hewson, program manager for PMA-276. “They have a long and gloried history and it is impressive to see it continue with the introduction of this 100th aircraft into the family.
“Although today’s aircraft looks strikingly similar to the first UH-1 to come off the production floors,” Hewson continued, “it shares the heart and soul of all the aircraft that have come before it, all the way back to the first H-1 that began operation more than 50 years ago.”
The UH-1 story began in 1959 with the U.S. Army and it progressed through various versions ending with the M model. The “Huey,” as it was affectionately known, also served as the foundation for the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter gunship.
H-1 helicopters also have a long Marine Corps lineage going back to the original basic Huey helicopter, first deployed during the Vietnam War in 1963 as the UH-1E. Later, the E model was upgraded to a twin engine N model. The Cobra attack helicopter traces its Marine Corps history to 1968 and the AH-1G model.
“Although the exterior may have remained generally the same, each new model introduced new performance and capability upgrades, such as new rotor systems, gear boxes and materials, ultimately achieving the capable and lethal versions the Marines fly today,” Hewson said.
“We are deeply proud to be the Marine Corps’ partner in these aircraft,” said John Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter. “They are among the most advanced, capable and affordable attack and utility helicopters serving today.”