File:UH-1Y flies next to USS Boxer.png|
A UH-1Y flies next to the USS Boxer.
The UH-1Y is currently in low-rate production to replace the USMC's aging fleet of UH-1N Twin Huey light utility helicopters first introduced in the early 1970s. The UH-1Y was to have been remanufactured from UH-1Ns, but in 2005 it was approved for the aircraft to be built as new.
HistoryEditIn 1996, the USMC launched the H-1 upgrade program by signing a contract with Bell Helicopter for upgrading 100 UH-1Ns into UH-1Ys and upgrading 180 AH-1Ws into AH-1Zs. The H-1 program created completely modernized attack and utility helicopters with considerable design commonality to reduce operating costs. The UH-1Y and AH-1Z share a common tail boom, engines, rotor system, drive train, avionics architecture, software, controls and displays for over 84% identical components.
The Y-model updates an airframe that has been central to the Marine Corps aviation in Iraq. The Huey has many mission requirements including command and control (C2), escort, reconnaissance, troop transport, medical evacuation and close air support. Typically detachments of 2-4 Hueys have been deployed with detachments of 4-8 Cobras. The forward mounted weaponry of the Cobra combined with the door guns of the Huey provides a 240° field of fire.
Over the years new avionics and radios, in addition to modern door guns and safety upgrades, have greatly increased the UH-1N's empty weight. With a maximum speed of approximately 100 knots (190 km/h) and an inability to lift much more than its own crew, fuel and ammunition, the UH-1N, while useful, is limited in its utility.The Y-model upgrades pilot avionics to a glass cockpit, adds further safety modifications and provides the UH-1 with a modern FLIR system. However, the biggest improvement is an increase in engine power. By replacing the engines and the two bladed rotor system with four composite blades the Y-model will return the Huey to the utility role for which it was designed. 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.
Bell delivered two UH-1Ys to the U.S. Marine Corps in February 2008. As of September 2009, the UH-1Y is in full-rate production, with the Marine Corps expected to have 21 by the end of the year. The Marine Corps plans to eventually buy 160 of the Y-models to replace their inventory of N-models, with aircraft deliveries to be completed by 2016.
DesignEditThe UH-1Y variant modernizes the UH-1 design. Its most noticeable upgrade, as compared to previous variants, is a four-bladed, all-composite rotor system designed to withstand ballistics up to 23 mm. A 21-inch (530 mm) insert just forward of the main door has been installed for more capacity. The UH-1Y features upgraded engines and transmission, a digital cockpit with flat panel multifunctional displays, and an 84% parts commonality with the AH-1Z. Compared to the UH-1N, the Y-model has 125% increased payload, almost 50% greater range, and higher cruise speed. The UH-1Y can keep up with the other helicopters it is supposed to be escorting rather than slowing them down. The UH-1Y will have more power to maneuver aggressively and evasively. Ground forces commanders riding in the Y-model will have radios, fire power and the range to match the transport helicopters carrying their troops.
Operational historyEditThe UH-1Y and AH-1Z completed their developmental testing in early 2006. During the first quarter of 2006 the UH-1Ys were transferred to the Operational Test Unit at the NAS Patuxent River, where they began operational evaluation (OPEVAL) testing. In February 2008, the UH-1Y and AH-1Z began the second and final portion of OPEVAL testing.
On 8 August 2008, the Marine Corps certified the UH-1Y as operationally capable and was deployed for the first time in January 2009 as part of the aviation combat element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
- Crew: One or two pilots, plus crew chief, other crew members as mission requires
- Capacity: 6,660 lb (3,020 kg) including up to 10 crashworthy passenger seats, 6 litters or equivalent cargo
- Length: 58 ft 4 in (17.78 m)
- Rotor diameter: 48 ft 10 in (14.88 m)
- Height: 14 ft 7 in (4.5 m)
- Disc area: 1,808 ft² (168.0 m²)
- Empty weight: 11,840 lb (5,370 kg)
- Useful load: 6,660 lb (3,020 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 18,500 lb (8,390 kg)
- Powerplant: 2× General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft, 1,828 shp for 2.5 min; 1,546 shp continuous (1,360 kW for 2.5 min; 1,150 kW continuous) each
- Never exceed speed: 198 kn (227 mph, 366 km/h)
- Maximum speed: 164 knots (189 mph, 304 km/h) for 30 minutes
- Cruise speed: 158 kt, 182 mph, 293 km/h (long range cruise (LRC): 135 kn, 155 mph, 250 km/h)
- Combat radius: 130 nmi (150 mi, 241 km) with 2,182 lb, 990 kg payload
- Endurance: 3.3 hr
- Service ceiling: 20,000+ ft (6,100+ m)
- Rate of climb: 2,520 ft/min (12.8 m/s)