H-1 mixed fleet soars past 400K flight hours

A UH-1Y Venom, left, and AH-1Z Viper fly alongside one another during a photo exercise May 17.

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom surpassed the 400,000 joint flight-hour milestone in April.

The H-1 mixed fleet of attack and utility helicopters have been deployed around the globe since 2010.

“Reaching this milestone is a culmination of thousands of hours of work by pilots, maintainers, engineers, test teams and industry partners. It is a true team effort,” said Col. Vasilios Pappas, program manager PMA-276. “The H-1s have defended warfighters for six decades, and with the integration of new capabilities, H-1s will continue to support warfighters for decades to come.”

Full rate production for the UH-1Y started in 2009, and the last of 160 aircraft was delivered in April 2018.

Production of the 189 AH-1Zs will complete with the final delivery in 2022.

The Marine Corps will operate H-1s through the 2040s, and plan to maintain critical capability and combat relevance through digital interoperability, survivability and lethality on an ever evolving battlefield.

“Currently, a new digital interoperability (DI) effort that includes the Link 16 system is in test,” Pappas said. “This capability is vital to the Marine Corps and allows information to be shared between platforms.”

The DI effort is just one enhancement to ensure the H-1 platform maintains its technological edge and combat capability throughout its service life.

PMA-276 manages the cradle-to-grave procurement, development, support, fielding and disposal of the Marine Corps rotary wing close air support, anti-armor, armed escort, armed/visual reconnaissance and fire support program systems.