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UH-1Y and AH-1Z Photo
UH-1Y and AH-1Z
by Neville Dawson
(click to view larger)

AH-1Z approved for full-rate production; Reliability issues; Program oversight & contracts. (Dec 30/10)

The US Marines’ helicopter force is aging at all levels, from banana-shaped CH-46 Sea Knight transports that are far older than their pilots, to the 1980s-era UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters that make up the Corps’ helicopter assault force. While the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey program has staggered along for almost 2 decades under accidents, technical delays, and cost issues, replacement of the USMC’s backbone helicopter assets has languished. Given the high-demand scenarios inherent in the current war, other efforts are clearly required.

Enter the H-1 program, the USMC’s plan to remanufacture older helicopters into new and improved UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters. The new versions would discard the signature 2-bladed rotors for modern 4-bladed improvements, redo the aircraft’s electronics, and add improved engines and weapons to offer a new level of performance. It seemed simple, but hasn’t quite worked out that way. The H-1 program has encountered its share of delays and issues, but the program survived its review, and continues on into the low-rate initial production stage and Initial Operational Capability.

DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article covers the H-1 helicopter programs’ rationales and changes, the upgrades involved in each model, program developments and annual budgets, the full timeline of contracts and key program developments, and related research sources.

Displaying 264 of 7,399 words (about 19 pages)

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Subscribe here, and keep reading DII’s coverage of news and events involving the USMC H-1 helicopter program. Our cross-linked article network and reference materials include:

  • A look at H-1 program goals, such as improved safety and reliability for both UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters, lower life-cycle costs, higher commonality, and enhanced combat performance.
  • Examination of major modifications including a 4-blade rotor system with blade fold, upgraded drive system and landing gear, pylon structural modifications and improved engine performance, upgraded avionics and targeting and strike capabilities
  • Program spending and orders by fiscal year
  • Numerous photos, and links to source materials

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