July 22, 2002 :
Bell H-1 Program Update
FARNBOROUGH, UK ( Bell Helicopters Press Release ) -
All five H-1 Upgrade Program prototype aircraft (3 AH-1Z & 2 UH-1Y) have been delivered to
NAVAIR Patuxent River, MD for the flight test phase of the program. All are expected to be
flying by the end of the summer. The H-1 Upgrade Program is upgrading the Marine Corps'
aging fleet of combat utility and attack helicopters by remanufacturing UH-1N Hueys and
AH-1W Super Cobras to share a common drive train, rotor head, tail boom, avionics, software
and controls for 84 percent commonality between the two aircraft.
Over the 30-year expected lifespan of the aircraft, this commonality is projected to
save the Marine Corps approximately $3 Billion in operating and support costs.
The program involves 100 UH-1N and 180 AH-1W SuperCobra helicopters. Upon completion,
the AH-1W will become the AH-1Z and the UH-1N will become the UH-1Y and bringing the Marines
a "zero-time" fleet for a fraction of the cost of a new aircraft. The program increases the
speed, range, maneuverability and lift capability of both aircraft.
Because of the Marines' unique expeditionary nature, system commonality will reduce
the logistical "foot print" of Marine light attack helicopter squadrons that operate both
aircraft. The common features of the aircraft mean less spare parts will be required to be
kept on hand, training for aircrew and maintainers will be simpler and deployments will be
These "zero-time" aircraft will result in essentially new aircraft for the USMC to
operate beyond 2020 and are being remanufactured with the latest technology
As of the beginning of July the first AH-1Z aircraft had 302+ flight hours accomplished
in 294 sorties. It has met or exceeded all the test objectives attempted.
The first UH-1Y just completed its first flight at NAS Pax River since being delivered
earlier this summer. It has 52.9 flight hours flown in 63 sorties and has also successfully
progressed through the flight test schedule. It is the first Glass Cockpit Huey with a fully
Integrated Avionics System (IAS) installed and working flawlessly.
Testing will continue for the next year on the 5 EMD aircraft at Patuxent River and then
through Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) beginning in FY-04.
news: H-1 Flight Test Update Mar 29, 2002
news: UH-1Y Utility Helicopter First Flight Dec 21, 2002
news: US Navy UH-1N upgrade completed Jan 16, 2001
AH-1Z Super Cobra