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Monday 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 easier.

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
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