Marines to get new-build UH-1Y Hueys
25 Apr 2005
On 15 April 2005, the US Department of Defense approved the acquisition of new-build UH-1Y light utility helicopters for the US Marine Corps, rather than rebuilding the UH-1Ns currently in service.
The Marine Corps' H-1 Upgrade program originally called for the remanufacturing of 180 AH-1W Super Cobras and 100 UH-1N Hueys into the modernised AH-1Z and UH-1Y respectively. The UH-1N fleet subsequently experienced a substantial increase in operational tempo. The average age and attrition rate of the aircraft as well as marginal cost difference between remanufactured and new-build UH-1Y, lead to the decision to acquire new-build UH-1Y to better support the needs of the Marine Corps.
With the current size and availability of the UH-1N fleet, taking a number of them out of service for the remanufacture process would have severe impact on the USMC's capability to support the Global War on Terrorism and other operations.
Currently, ten UH-1Y and six AH-1Z are being rebuild at Bell's Forth Worth and Amarillo production facilities in Texas. The remainder of 90 UH-1Ys will be new-build. Program officials are studying the option of also building the AH-1Zs new. Deliveries start in 2008 and will continue until 2014.
- Shephard Rotorhub