Bell Helicopter, January 16, 2013 - Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, delivered the 100th of a planned total of 349 H-1 helicopters during a ceremony at its Amarillo Assembly Center. The U.S. Marine Corps H-1 helicopter program is comprised of both the UH-1Y utility helicopter and the AH-1Z attack helicopter.
John Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter said, “We are deeply proud to be the marine corp’s partner in these aircraft. They are among the most advanced, capable and affordable attack and utility helicopters serving today.”
The UH-1A story began back in 1959 with the U.S. Army and it progressed through various versions ending with the M model. The “Huey”, as it was affectionately known, also served as the foundation for the Cobra attack gun ship. These helicopters also have a long marine corps lineage going back to the original basic Huey helicopter, first deployed during the Vietnam War in 1963 as the UH-1E. Later the E model was upgraded to a twin engine N model. The Cobra attack helicopter traces its history back to 1968 and the AH-1G model.
Although the exterior look may have remained the same, each new model introduced new performance and capability upgrades such as new rotor systems, gear boxes and materials, and ultimately achieving the capable and lethal versions the marines fly today.
Major suppliers for these latest H-1 models include: Northrop Grumman supplying the integrated avionics suite, Thales providing the helmet mounted sight and display system, Lockheed Martin Orlando supplying the AH-1Z target sight system (TSS), FLIR Inc. with the UH-1Y BRITE Star II forward-looking infrared sensor, L-3 Crestview Aerospace providing the UH-1Y cabin structure, and General Electric Aviation supplying the T700 engines.
Previous models achieved considerable international sales success and the current models are beginning to attract foreign interest as well.
The AH-1Z is in competition to supply 36 new attack helicopters to South Korea with a decision sometime this year.