Bell Helicopter delivered the 100th copy of a planned total of 349 H-1 helicopters during a ceremony at its Amarillo Assembly Center earlier this year. The U.S. Marine Corps H-1 helicopter program comprises both the UH-1Y utility helicopter and the AH-1Z attack helicopters.
The UH-1A story is long and illustrious, starting in 1959 with the U.S. Army and progressing through various versions, ending with the M model. The “Huey,” as it was affectionately known, also served as the foundation for the Cobra attack gunship. The lineage also goes back to the original basic Huey that was first deployed in 1963 with the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War as the UH-1E.
Major suppliers for these latest H-1 models include Northrop Grumman (integrated avionics suite), Thales (helmet-mounted sight and display system), Lockheed Martin Orlando (AH-1A target sight system) and FLIR, Inc. (Brite Star II forward looking infrared sensor). The UH-1Y cabin structure comes from L-3 Crestview Aerospace, and General Electric Aviation is providing the T700 engines.
The AH-1Z is in competition to supply 36 new attack helicopters to South Korea, and a decision is expected later this year.