Country of origin
Dimensions and weight
Main rotor diameter
Weight (maximum take off)
Engines and performance
1 x Acvo Lycoming T-53 turboshaft engine
Payload capacity (internal)
~ 1.5 t
Payload capacity (external load)
~ 1.5 t
provision for two door-mounted 7.62 mm machine
40 mm grenade launcher, pods with 70 mm unguided
ubiquitous Bell Model 204 utility helicopter made its first flight
in 1956. It was adopted by the US Army in 1959 as the UH-1 Iroquois.
It is still in line to name the US Army helicopters after the Native
American Indian tribes. This helicopter is unofficially known
as the Huey. It was the first turbine-powered aircraft to serve with
the US Army. It replaced Piasecki H-21 and Sikorsky CH-34 in
the US Army service. Eventually than 11 000 of UH-1 series
helicopters were built. In a modern form this utility helicopter
continues to serve to this day.
The UH-1 was the most
successful utility helicopter ever built, overtaking the Russian
Mi-8/Mi-17. Improved and upgraded variants of the UH-1 remain in
The UH-1 was
the workhorse of the US Army in during Vietnam War. This transport helicopter was used for various purposes.
Typical missions were transport of troops, fuel, ammunition and
supplies, gunship mission, and medical evacuation mission. During
that war, the UH-1 revolutionized warfare, adding a new dimensions
to air mobility. A new "air cavalry" concept was pioneered. It
enabled soldiers to move from one firefight to another by air,
leapfrogging the enemy and seizing the advantage. Even
battalion-sized units were moved from one battlefield to another.
However thousands of these helicopters were lost to enemy small arms
The UH-1 is
operated by a crew of 3, including pilot, co-pilot and
crew-chief/door gunner. The UH-1D could carry 10 passengers or 6
stretchers. It had internal payload capacity of around 1 500 kg.
could be armed with one or two door-mounted 7.62 mm machine guns. The Huey was the first helicopter to see a widespread use as a
gunship. At the time it was the most suitable helicopter for this
role. The UH-1 was outfitted with machine guns, grenade launcher and
even pods with 70 mm unguided rockets and four side-mounted guns. It
was used for ground attack and armed escort role. The
UH-1s also flew hunter-killer teams with observation helicopters,
OH-58A Kiowa and
helicopter has a straightforward design. The original UH-1A had a
single Avco Lycoming T-53 turboshaft engine, developing 960 shp.
However soon more powerful engines became standard. Later models
even had two engines. Both rotors had two blades. This helicopter has simple, but tough, landing skits, rather than complex
introduction the original UH-1 has been constantly improved and
upgraded. There were numerous variants of this helicopter, including
specialized machines. It remains an important type. Major variants are listed below.
initial production model. Originally it was designated as HU-1A, but
re-designated UH-1A in 1962. It was powered by a 960 shp engine. Only 182 of these helicopters were
UH-1B was an
upgraded version with various external and rotor improvements.
Originally it was designated as UH-1B, but re-designated UH-1B in
1962. A total of 1 014 were built, plus 4 prototypes.
UH-1C is a
dedicated gunship version, which evolved from the UH-1B. It had
improved and more powerful engine developing 1 100 shp, larger rotor blades and modified rotor head
for better performance. A total of 767 were built.
Bell Model 205 was developed from the previous Model 204. It was a
long-fuselage version with greater lifting capacity. Also it had a
larger loading door. This helicopter was specially designed as a troop carrier. It first flew
in 1961 and was adopted in 1963. The UH-1D began to arrive in Vietnam in 1965. A total of 2 008 of these helicopters were built.
Eventually many were upgraded to the UH-1H standard.
AH-1 Cobra is the first dedicated attack helicopter. Its company
designation is Model 209. It is also unofficially called as Huey
Cobra. It was specially designed as an armed escort for troop
carrying helicopters to meet a US Army requirement. Eventually this
machine was a turning point in the development of helicopter
technology and its application. It first flew in 1965. Deliveries
commenced to the US Army in 1968. Even though little in the
appearance of the Cobra shows off its roots. Engine and transmission
were borrowed from UH-1D. The Cobra has a narrow fuselage and was
specially designed to be as small target as possible to enemy ground
UH-1E was a
version of the UH-1C for the US Marine Corps. This helicopter was
fitted with different avioncs and equipment. A total of 192 were
UH-1F was a
version of the UH-1C for the US Air Force. It was powered by General
Electric T58-GE-3 engine, developing 1 325 shp. A total of 120 were
UH-1H was an
improved US Army version, fitted with a Lycoming T53-L-13 engine,
developing 1 400 shp. The utility helicopter was first flown in
1961. It was adopted as the UH-1H in 1966 (?). It was the most
numerous version of the UH-1. Bell built 3 573 UH-1Hs for US
forces and a further 1 317 were exported.
UH-1J is an
improved Japanese version of the UH-1H. It is powered by Allison
T53-L-703 engine, developing 1 800 shp. This helicopter also has a
vibration-reduction system, infrared countermeasures, improved
cockpit and some other improvements. It was license-produced in
Japan by Fuji Heavy Industries.
twin-engined Bell Model 212 was a significant development of the
Model 205. It was powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada T400-CP-400
engines. The Bell Model 212 was adopted as the UH-1N. This
helicopter is also called the Twin Huey. It was also
license-produced by the Agusta-Bell. Deliveries commenced in 1970.
This helicopter remains in widespread military service, most
significantly with the US Marine Corps, to which the first machine
was delivered in 1971.
The US Air Force still uses the UH-1N fleet to protect
intercontinental ballistic missiles and transport the US government
and security forces. In addition, Bell and Agusta-Bell produce the Model 412 and AB 412
respectively, based on the Model 212, but with a four-bladed main
rotor as standard. This aircraft has also found many military
UH-1P was an
UH-1F variant for the US Air Force special operations use. This
helicopter was used solely by the USAF 20th Special Operations
Squadron, known as Green Hornets.
UH-1Y Venom is a rebuilt, redesigned and deeply upgraded
version, used by the US Marine Corps. It is also called the Super
Huey. Upgrade program was launched by the US Government in 1996 for
bringing well qualified and combat proven helicopters to modern
standards. The UH-1W Venom was developed alongside the
AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter under the same program and shared
common systems, engines and components. Improvements include uprated General Electric T700-GE-401C engines.
These have a continuous output of 1 550 shp, but can develop 1 800
shp for 2.5 minutes. These drive a new four-bladed main rotor
system. The upgraded
cockpit havs modern mission and
weapons computers, advanced communication and navigation equipment.
The UH-1Y also received thermal imaging
system in the FLIR under the nose, plus greatly improved
self-protection systems. This helicopter has significantly increased
speed, maneuverability, range, crashworthiness and lift capability,
plus enhanced battlefield survivability. The useful load increased
to slightly over 3 000 kg. First UH-1Y helicopters were delivered to
the US Marine Corps in 2008 and full-rate production commenced in
2009. The US Marine Corps planed to obtain 160 of these helicopters
until 2016. Initially it was planned that the older UH-1N airframes
will be remanufactured to the UH-1Y standard. However later it was
announced, that these will be newly-built machines.