UH-1Y Venom
A UH-1Y in flight
Role Utility helicopter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter
First flight 20 December 2001[1]
Introduction 8 August 2008
Status In service
Primary user United States Marine Corps
Produced 2001–present
Number built 160[2]
Developed from Bell UH-1N Twin Huey

The Bell UH-1Y Venom[3] (also called Super Huey)[4] is a twin-engine, medium-sized utility helicopter built by Bell Helicopter under the H-1 upgrade program of the United States Marine Corps. One of the latest members of the numerous Huey family, the UH-1Y is also called "Yankee" after the NATO phonetic alphabet pronunciation of its variant letter.[5] Bell was originally to produce UH-1Ys by rebuilding UH-1Ns, but ultimately built them from scratch instead. In 2008, the UH-1Y entered service with the Marine Corps and also began full-rate production.[6] The aircraft replaced the USMC's UH-1N Twin Huey light utility helicopters, introduced in the early 1970s. The final UH-1Y was delivered in 2018.[7]

Development

Over the years, new avionics and radios, modern door guns, and safety upgrades have greatly increased the UH-1N's empty weight. With a maximum speed around 100 knots (190 km/h) and an inability to lift much more than its own crew, fuel, and ammunition, the UH-1N had limited capabilities as a transport.[citation needed]

In 1996, the United States Marine Corps launched the H-1 upgrade program. A contract was signed with Bell Helicopter for upgrading 100 UH-1Ns into UH-1Ys and upgrading 180 AH-1Ws into AH-1Zs.[8][9] The H-1 program modernized utility and attack helicopters with considerable design commonality to reduce operating costs. The UH-1Y and AH-1Z share a common tail boom, engines, rotor system, drivetrain, avionics architecture, software, controls, and displays for over 84% identical components.[10][11]

A UH-1Y during sea trials aboard USS Bataan

Originally, the UH-1Y was to have been remanufactured from UH-1N airframes, but in April 2005, approval was granted to build them as new helicopters.[6][12] Bell delivered two UH-1Ys to the U.S. Marine Corps in February 2008,[13] and full-rate production was begun in September 2009.[14] The Marine Corps purchased 160 Y-models to replace their inventory of N-models.[15]

Design

UH-1Y refueling at night

The UH-1Y variant modernizes the UH-1 design. The Y-model upgrades pilot avionics to a glass cockpit, adds further safety modifications, and provides the UH-1 with a modern forward-looking infrared system. Engine power was increased. Its most noticeable upgrade over previous variants is a four-blade, all-composite rotor system designed to withstand up to 23 mm rounds. By replacing the engines and the two-bladed rotor system with four composite blades, the Y-model returns the Huey to the utility role for which it was designed.

A 21-inch (530 mm) fuselage extension just forward of the main door was added for more capacity. The UH-1Y features upgraded transmissions and a digital cockpit with flat-panel multifunctional displays. Compared to the UH-1N, the Y-model has an increased payload, almost 50% greater range, a reduction in vibration, and higher cruising speed.[10][16][17]

Operational history

The UH-1Y and AH-1Z completed their developmental testing in early 2006.[18] During the first quarter of 2006 the UH-1Ys were transferred to the Operational Test Unit at NAS Patuxent River, where they began operational evaluation testing.[19] In February 2008, the UH-1Y and AH-1Z began the second and final portion of testing.[20] On 8 August 2008, the Marine Corps certified the UH-1Y as operationally capable, and it was deployed for the first time in January 2009 as part of the aviation combat element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.[21][22] The UH-1N Twin Huey was retired by the Marines in August 2014, making the UH-1Y the Marine Corps' standard utility helicopter.[23]

On 11 October 2017, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the United States Congress of the potential sale of 12 UH-1Ys and related systems and support to the Czech Republic for a cost of US$575 million.[24] In December 2019, an order for eight UH-1Y helicopters was approved.[25][26]

Operators

The first delivered UH-1Y to the Czech Air Force on a public display during the NATO Days in Ostrava airshow in September 2023
A UH-1Y from HMLA-367 and an AH-1W SuperCobra in Afghanistan, November 2009
 Czech Republic
 United States

Specifications

UH-1Y firing rockets

Data from Bell UH-1Y guide,[10] International Directory of Civil Aircraft[36]

General characteristics

1,546 hp (1,153 kW) continuous

Performance

Armament

See also

Related development

References

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