The long­bod­ies

The UH-1D and H

Aviation Classics - - CONTENTS - Words: Tim Call­away

As al­ready ex­plained, the orig­i­nal Hueys had been a tremen­dous suc­cess in ev­ery role the air­craft was asked to fill, the tur­bine pow­ered he­li­copter be­ing a quan­tum leap in ca­pa­bil­ity over ear­lier types. The higher pow­ered B and C mod­els fit­ted with the broader chord ro­tors had the lift­ing ca­pa­bil­ity to man­age heavy weapon loads in the gun­ship role while ded­i­cated attack he­li­copters were be­ing de­vel­oped. In­deed, the only crit­i­cism lev­elled at the Huey was re­gard­ing its limited in­ter­nal cabin space in the troop trans­port role, es­pe­cially when car­ry­ing door gun­ners for de­fence and cov­er­ing fire of the troops they were de­liv­er­ing to land­ing zones.


In July 1960, the US Army or­dered seven ser­vice test ex­am­ples of a stretched ver­sion of the he­li­copter known as the YHU-1D, later to be­come the YUH-1D af­ter the US Forces des­ig­na­tion stan­dard­i­s­a­tion of 1962. Re­ferred to by Bell as the Model 205, the most ob­vi­ous change was the longer cabin, stretched by 3ft 5in (1.05m) to in­crease the ca­pac­ity to 220cu ft (6.23cu m).

The limited in­ter­nal cabin space of the early UH-1S caused Bell and the US Army to dis­cuss a larger ver­sion of the he­li­copter that could carr y more troops in 1960. This was to lead to the two most pro­duced vari­ants of the Huey which would be ex­ported world­wide.

This al­lowed an ex­tra four seats to be fit­ted, fac­ing out­board on ei­ther side of the trans­mis­sion hous­ing that now ex­tended into the cen­tre of the cabin, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of seats to 15. This typ­i­cally al­lowed a crew of four, two pi­lots, a crew chief and a gun­ner, to be car­ried along with an in­fantry sec­tion of 10 troops and their equip­ment. The cabin stretch was greatly fa­cil­i­tated by the orig­i­nal con­struc­tion of the Huey, the two main beams un­der the cabin floor be­ing ex­tended for­ward and the sides of the cen­tre sec­tion be­ing moved aft to leave the trans­mis­sion hous­ing box in the mid­dle of the cabin in­stead of form­ing the rear wall as had pre­vi­ously been the case. Ex­ter­nally, the most ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ences, aside from the longer trans­mis­sion and en­gine hous­ing with its re­vised cool­ing lou­vres, were the stretched main cabin slid­ing doors which now fea­tured two win­dows in­stead of the orig­i­nal one, for­ward of which was a short hinged door with its own win­dow. Both of th­ese doors could be quickly re­moved in the field and the Huey flown with­out them, greatly speed­ing en­try and exit from the cabin in the troop or cargo trans­port roles. The longer cabin also al­lowed a to­tal of six stretch­ers to be car­ried along with med­i­cal at­ten­dants in the mede­vac role, or up to 4000lb (1814kg) of cargo in­ter­nally. The first YUH-1D built, 60-6028, con­struc­tor’s num­ber 701, made its maiden flight on Au­gust 16, 1961, the test air­craft be­ing fit­ted with the 44ft (13.41m) span ro­tor and the T53-L-9 ver­sion of the tur­boshaft en­gine. How­ever, flight tests quickly proved the ro­tor and en­gine com­bi­na­tion were in­suf­fi­cient to en­able the he­li­copter to achieve its full load po­ten­tial. Bell ad­dressed the de­fi­cien­cies the test flights re­vealed by chang­ing the main ro­tor for one with blades of 21in (53.34cm) chord and 48ft (14.63m) span, which also re­quired a re­design of the tail boom, length­en­ing it to ac­com­mo­date the new longer ro­tor. This was driven by the 1100hp T53-L-11 ver­sion of the tur­boshaft and solved the per­for­mance short­falls, the new ro­tor and en­gine in­creas­ing the max­i­mum op­er­at­ing weight of the Delta model Huey to 9500lb (4309kg). US Army tri­als be­gan at Ed­wards Air Force Base in Cal­i­for­nia in March 1962 with the sec­ond YUH-1D, 60-6029, break­ing

three world records for dif­fer­ing as­pects of per­for­mance in April that year. Th­ese in­cluded two time-to-height climb records and a speed record over a closed cir­cuit of 134.96mph (217.197kph). Th­ese suc­cesses led to the first of sev­eral large pro­duc­tion or­ders be­ing is­sued, with the first pro­duc­tion UH-1D, 62-2106, be­ing de­liv­ered to the US Army’s Avi­a­tion Test Board on May 31, 1963. Be­tween Septem­ber and De­cem­ber 1964, the UH-1D was to cap­ture no fewer than 17 world per­for­mance records for he­li­copters, in­clud­ing a speed record of 180.17mph (289.95kph) over a two mile (3.2km) course and an altitude record of 35,147ft (10,712.8 m). The first op­er­a­tional unit to re­ceive the UH1D was the 11th Air As­sault Di­vi­sion (Test) at Fort Ben­ning in Ge­or­gia on Au­gust 9, 1963, which, as al­ready re­lated, was sent to Viet­nam in July 1965 and re­des­ig­nated as the 1st Cav­alry Di­vi­sion (Air­mo­bile). Th­ese two he­li­copters were to be the first of 2008 UH1Ds built for the US Army be­tween 1962 and 1966, by far the ma­jor­ity of the to­tal pro­duc­tion run of 2561 of this ver­sion of the Huey, which in­cludes 352 built un­der li­cence in Ger­many which will be cov­ered later in this is­sue.


As al­ready men­tioned, the UH-1D was to excel in the troop trans­port and mede­vac roles in the South East Asia theatre, be­com­ing im­mor­talised as a sym­bol of that con­flict in tele­vi­sion news pro­grammes at the time and in movies and doc­u­men­taries since the war’s end. How­ever, there were a num­ber of other re­mark­ably spe­cial­ist roles for the UH-1D, some of which are lit­tle known. One of th­ese was the use of the UH-1D in the night in­ter­dic­tor and counter in­sur­gency roles, a nec­es­sary and grow­ing role as the North Viet­namese Army and Viet Cong shifted more of their at­tacks, as well as their trans­port and re­sup­ply ac­tiv­i­ties, to the hours of dark­ness to avoid the over­whelm­ing US air power now de­ployed in coun­try. The devel­op­ment of the night attack Hueys had be­gun with UH-1BS and Cs in 1964, the Army gun­ships ini­tially work­ing with US Air Force il­lu­mi­na­tor plat­forms known as flare­ships, of­ten cargo air­craft such as C-47s or C-119s. How­ever, flare­ships were not al­ways avail­able, so the Hueys were mod­i­fied to carry their own flares and other

il­lu­mi­na­tion and sen­sor sys­tems to de­tect and track en­emy move­ments at night. Th­ese ini­tially con­sisted of mounts for the same Mk.24 parachute flares dropped by the flare­ships, which pro­duced two mil­lion can­dle­power and burned for about three min­utes. Th­ese mounts, built and fit­ted in the field by in­di­vid­ual units, at­tached dif­fer­ing racks with six flares on the M156 uni­ver­sal weapons mounts or loaded them in con­tain­ers in the cabin door­ways of the Huey where they could be dropped man­u­ally. Even­tu­ally, the of­fi­cial XM19 sys­tem was in­tro­duced, which stored 24 Mk.45 parachute flares in the cabin and ejected them side­ways through the doors. The Huey flare­ships be­gan work­ing in teams with ac­com­pa­ny­ing gun­ships, but the flare sys­tem proved limited so al­ter­na­tive il­lu­mi­na­tion sys­tems were de­vel­oped. One of the first was again lo­cally pro­duced, us­ing seven spare land­ing lights from USAF trans­port air­craft ar­ranged in a clus­ter on a man­u­ally steer­able mount in the cabin door of a Huey, cre­at­ing a flex­i­ble and pow­er­ful searchlight and area il­lu­mi­na­tion de­vice. Th­ese lo­cally pro­duced light clus­ters were even­tu­ally re­placed by pur­pose built search­lights and other il­lu­mi­na­tion de­vices. The ad­vent of the UH-1D with its larger cabin al­lowed th­ese lights to be mounted next to a door gun, such as a Brown­ing .50 cal or M60 ma­chine gun, the gun­ner en­gag­ing il­lu­mi­nated tar­gets di­rectly. Us­ing this sys­tem, the light­ships flew in co­op­er­a­tion with a com­mand air­craft or he­li­copter which flew at high level and di­rected the il­lu­mi­na­tor on to tar­gets. Once il­lu­mi­nated, the tar­get would be en­gaged by the door gun­ner in the light­ship, dis­tract­ing the en­emy from the ap­proach of the gun­ships fly­ing at low level which would then en­gage the il­lu­mi­nated area with their heavy weapons. Th­ese mis­sions were known as Fire­fly or Light­ning Bug op­er­a­tions, the com­mand plat­form usu­ally be­ing a low light TV or infrared sen­sor equipped he­li­copter or other air­craft type to pro­vide ini­tial tar­get in­for­ma­tion and di­rec­tion. While the Fire­fly/light­ning Bug sys­tem was an im­prove­ment over the flare­ships alone, the night and low light sen­sor tech­nol­ogy was de­vel­op­ing to al­low the light­ship Hueys to de­tect their own tar­gets, speed­ing the process from de­tec­tion to attack. A num­ber of UH-1DS were equipped with the pow­er­ful AN/VSS-3 Xenon 50 mil­lion can­dle­power searchlight from the M551 Sheri­dan light tank pin­tle mounted in the cabin door and steered by a crew mem­ber. This searchlight could op­er­ate in both white light and infrared modes, in a fo­cussed or de­fo­cused beam. Along­side this was a new devel­op­ment, the AN/TVS-4 Night Ob­ser­va­tion De­vice (NOD), a medium range light in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion de­vice re­sem­bling a large zoom lens mounted on a tri­pod. The NOD had an 8in (20.32cm) aper­ture and a 40mm three stage first gen­er­a­tion light in­ten­si­fier tube with 6x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion which gave it a range of 6560ft (2000m) in moon­light and 4000ft (1200m) in starlight. The range of the NOD was in­creased when used in con­junc­tion with the Xenon searchlight in infrared mode as it in­creased the ra­di­a­tion lev­els the NOD had avail­able to in­ten­sify. Along­side the NOD and Xenon was an M134 Mini­gun on a pin­tle mount­ing with a pair or sin­gle M60 on a sim­i­lar mount on the op­po­site side of the cabin.

In this guise the UH-1DS be­came known as Nighthawks, op­er­ated by two pi­lots, a NOD and Xenon op­er­a­tor and two or three gun­ners to man the weapons. Nighthawk mis­sions usu­ally saw a sin­gle light­ship fly­ing at low level, steered into known tar­get ar­eas by ground radar op­er­a­tors. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing it were two gun­ships, fly­ing at a dis­tance to evade de­tec­tion by the en­emy forces. Once the tar­get was de­tected by the NOD and Xenon op­er­a­tor, ei­ther the Xenon was switched to white light mode to il­lu­mi­nate it, or the light­ship’s mini­gun was used with tracer to pin­point the po­si­tion on the ground for the gun­ships to attack. Oc­ca­sion­ally, a flare­ship also ac­com­pa­nied the Nighthawk team to pro­vide area il­lu­mi­na­tion from altitude. As men­tioned in the short bod­ied ar­ti­cle, the Nighthawks were sup­ple­mented by the IN­FANT and FLIR equipped UH-1MS in the lat­ter stages of the Viet­nam con­flict. Like other mod­els of the Huey, the UH-1D was also to be used for spe­cial forces and psy­ops mis­sions, as well as a ver­sion fit­ted with an aerial spray bar and cabin mounted drum to act as de­fo­liant de­liv­ery air­craft, spray­ing Agent Or­ange and other chem­i­cals to re­duce the cover avail­able to the North Viet­namese forces. Only one other vari­ant of the UH-1D was pro­duced, the HH-1D, spe­cially equipped as a res­cue and fire fight­ing he­li­copter for use at US Army and USAF bases. The cabin con­tained a 50 gal­lon (190 litre) tank that could de­liver ei­ther wa­ter or foam via a spray sys­tem which in­cluded a 16ft (4.9m) re­tractable boom to al­low the he­li­copter to re­main clear of the hot air above a fire. This would later be pro­duced as a more pow­er­ful vari­ant based on the next model of the Huey.


Even given the more pow­er­ful ro­tor of the UH-1D, there were still lim­i­ta­tions on per­for­mance im­posed by the hot and high altitude con­di­tions found in South East Asia. Hov­er­ing, par­tic­u­larly out of ground ef­fect at high loaded weights was sim­ply not an op­tion on many days, and it be­came ob­vi­ous that more power was re­quired. This came in the form of the new 1400hp T53-L-13 ver­sion of the Ly­coming tur­boshaft, which was added to the UH-1D air­frame to pro­duce the Huey vari­ant pro­duced in greater num­bers than any other, the UH-1H. Aside from the new en­gine, there were few changes be­tween the UH-1D and H, the most ob­vi­ous be­ing the mov­ing of the pi­tot head from the nose to the cabin roof. As with the short bod­ied vari­ants, this was to avoid dam­age while the air­craft was on the ground, the nose mounted probe be­ing prone to this. The pro­duc­tion H also had a fully in­stru­ment flight equipped cock­pit to al­low op­er­a­tions at night and in bad weather. The first H was in fact mod­i­fied from D, des­ig­nated the YUH-1H and mak­ing its first flight in July 1966. The first pro­duc­tion UH1H, 67-17145, was de­liv­ered the fol­low­ing year and still ex­ists to­day, as a gate guardian at the Vet­er­ans of For­eign Wars Post 5202 at Waynesville in North Carolina. The first unit to be de­ployed to Viet­nam equipped with the UH-1H was the 45th Med­i­cal Com­pany who ar­rived at Long Binh in July 1967, the new type quickly re­plac­ing the UH-1D in the mede­vac role due to its greater per­for­mance. Like other Huey mod­els, the UH-1H was to be pro­duced un­der li­cence, in this case in Italy, Ja­pan and Tai­wan, with an as­tound­ing 5435 of this model be­ing pro­duced by Bell, Agusta, Fuji and AIDC. Bell’s pro­duc­tion of 4845 UH-1HS ended in De­cem­ber 1980, only to be restarted to ful­fil an or­der for 55 he­li­copters from Turkey, the last one of which was de­liv­ered in 1987. With the end of the Viet­nam War, mixed fleets of UH-1DS and Hs formed the back­bone of the US Army’s trans­port and air­borne as­sault units, as well as equip­ping the ma­jor­ity of the Na­tional Guard units in th­ese roles. The H model Huey was also used in train­ing roles at Fort Rucker and to equip the multi­na­tional ob­server unit in Si­nai that mon­i­tored the mil­i­tary pres­ence in the area. The in­tro­duc­tion of the Siko­rsky UH-60 Black Hawk in 1979 saw the steady re­place­ment of the UH-1 in US Army ser­vice from then on­wards, with the last be­ing re­tired from front line units in the US in 2005, the last leav­ing the US Army’s Joint Multi­na­tional Readi­ness Cen­tre in Ger­many in April 2011.

The Na­tional Guard units be­gan to re­tire their UH-1HS in 2009 as they were re­placed by the Euro­copter UH-72 Lakota. How­ever, UH-1HS were to go into battle again in 1991 dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Desert Storm, be­ing used by the 101 Air­borne Di­vi­sion, the 1st and 24th In­fantry Di­vi­sions, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Ar­moured Di­vi­sions and the 1st Cav­alry Di­vi­sion in that con­flict. The type also equipped 3 Squadron of the Sul­tan of Oman’s Air Force and 12 Squadron of the Royal Saudi Air Force dur­ing op­er­a­tions to end the oc­cu­pa­tion of Kuwait by Iraq. By 2014, 55 UH-1HS were still listed as ac­tive with the US Army, mostly in train­ing, test and re­serve roles.


While the ma­jor­ity of the UH-1HS pro­duced were used as troop and util­ity trans­ports with all of the US forces, like the ear­lier short bod­ied Hueys, the power and flex­i­bil­ity of the UH-1H led to a num­ber of spe­cial­ist sub types be­ing pro­duced. The HH-1H was based on the fire fight­ing and res­cue HH-1D vari­ant, with 30 of th­ese be­ing de­liv­ered to the US Air Force be­tween 1970 and 1973. Th­ese equipped the 37th and 304th Aerospace Res­cue and Re­cov­ery Squadrons as well as the 6512th Test Squadron and were fit­ted with an elec­tric res­cue hoist above the cabin door, sim­i­lar to that fit­ted to the US Marine Corps UH-1ES. The tail ro­tor was also moved to the star­board side of the fin. The US Air Force also ac­quired the UH-1H in the early 1970s for use by its Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions units, the last one of th­ese be­ing re­tired and trans­ferred from the 1st Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Wing at Hurl­burt Field in Florida to the New York State Po­lice in June 2013. In 1976, the US Army be­gan to mod­ify UH1Hs un­der Project Quick Fix IA and IB to

de­velop an elec­tronic war­fare ver­sion of the Huey to lo­cate and jam en­emy ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tions among other tasks. Aside from the AN/ARQ-33 ra­dio in­ter­cep­tion, lo­ca­tion and jamming equip­ment, a suite of de­fen­sive aids was fit­ted to th­ese air­craft, in­clud­ing chaff and flare dis­pensers, an infrared jam­mer and a radar warn­ing re­ceiver. A to­tal of 22 he­li­copters were mod­i­fied to be­come EH-1HS, first is­sued to the 82nd Air­borne and 2nd Ar­moured Di­vi­sions. The 82nd were to deploy their EH-1HS in com­bat dur­ing the in­va­sion of Gre­nada in 1983. The lessons learned from the EH-1HS led to a more ad­vanced AN/ALQ-151 lo­cat­ing and jamming suite be­ing fit­ted to at least 10 more UH-1HS, which were des­ig­nated as EH-1XS un­der Project Quick Fix IIA. An­other sys­tem that was tested on a UH1H air­frame in 1977 was the Multi Tar­get Elec­tronic War­fare Sys­tem (MULTEWS),

aimed at pro­vid­ing counter mor­tar and counter bat­tery radar jamming. This was known as the EH-1U, but the weight and vi­bra­tion of the large ex­ter­nally mounted el­e­ments of this com­plex elec­tronic war­fare suite se­verely re­duced the per­for­mance of the he­li­copter, which crashed dur­ing testing at Ed­wards Air Force Base. Two of the odder ver­sions of the UH-1H went un­der the same des­ig­na­tion, JUH-1H. The first of th­ese were five UH-1HS mod­i­fied as part of the Stand Off Tar­get Ac­qui­si­tion Sys­tem (SO­TAS) pro­gramme. Th­ese were fit­ted with longer un­der­car­riage legs which could be re­tracted side­ways to clear the AN/APS 94 Side­ways Look­ing Radar (SLAR) mounted in a ca­noe shaped pod un­der the Huey’s cabin. The radar head was mounted where the cargo hook had pre­vi­ously been and could ro­tate in flight, the vari­ant be­ing equipped with im­proved nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems and a datalink to down­load the radar images to a ground sta­tion. Known as JUH-1H (SO­TAS) he­li­copters, they were de­ployed to Ger­many and Korea in 1975 as part of an eval­u­a­tion of the sys­tem, but were not re­placed un­til 1986 with the in­tro­duc­tion of the EH-60 Black Hawk vari­ant. The sec­ond ver­sion known by the JUH-1H des­ig­na­tion is a small num­ber of UH-1HS mod­i­fied in the late 1980s and early 1990s with a false gun­ner’s cock­pit in the cen­tre of the nose to sim­u­late the Mil Mi-24 Hind attack he­li­copter at the Na­tional Train­ing Cen­tre and other US Army train­ing units. The he­li­copters were all painted with Soviet style cam­ou­flage and mark­ings and es­sen­tially filled the ag­gres­sor role by sim­u­lat­ing the air threat th­ese he­li­copters rep­re­sent to ground and other he­li­copter forces. Aside from th­ese two sub types, there were a num­ber of other JUH-1HS used for tri­als and testing of a wide va­ri­ety of mod­i­fi­ca­tions and equip­ment.


The longevity and re­li­a­bil­ity of the UH-1H con­vinced the US Army to begin look­ing at a mid life up­grade pro­gramme for the he­li­copter in the early 1980s. This was to up­grade the avion­ics with new ra­dios, nav­i­ga­tion aids and a radar al­time­ter as well as adding new de­fen­sive sys­tems such as

an infrared jam­mer, mod­i­fied ex­haust and a chaff and flare dis­penser. The fuel sys­tem was up­graded as were the main and tail ro­tor con­trol sys­tems and an im­proved sta­biliser bar was added to the main ro­tor hub. In Novem­ber 1981, the US Army is­sued a re­quest for pro­pos­als to pro­vide com­pos­ite main ro­tor blades for the UH-1H, Bell and Boe­ing re­spond­ing with a joint pro­gramme to de­velop the blades. Test fly­ing be­gan in 1985 and proved the new blades im­proved the hover per­for­mance and re­duced the fuel con­sump­tion in for­ward flight, so they were or­dered into pro­duc­tion with de­liv­er­ies be­gin­ning in Jan­uary 1988. Aside from the UH-1H util­ity he­li­copter fleet, the nav­i­ga­tion up­grades, which in­cluded the radar al­time­ter, dis­tance mea­sur­ing equip­ment and an in­stru­ment land­ing sys­tem, were all added to the 220 UH-1H air­frames dur­ing this pe­riod along with a cabin roof mounted res­cue hoist. The mod­i­fi­ca­tions were car­ried out by the US Army Elec­tron­ics Com­mand in or­der to pro­duce an up­graded mede­vac and res­cue vari­ant of the Huey which was known as the UH-1V. Th­ese equipped both Army and Na­tional Guard units un­til the mid 1990s when they be­gan to be re­placed by the UH-60A and later the UH-60Q vari­ants of the Black Hawk, the last three UH-1VS re­tir­ing on Au­gust 8, 2012. The most re­cent mod­i­fied vari­ant of the UH-1H is the thor­oughly up­graded TH-1H pi­lot train­ing ver­sion for the US Air Force. This has all the fea­tures of the Huey II up­grade kit of­fered by Bell, in­clud­ing a new all glass dig­i­tal cock­pit, com­pletely rewired air­frame, an up­graded 1800hp T53-L-703 en­gine, trans­mis­sion and ro­tor and the more stream­lined nose shape of the Bell 212. The TH-1H is in­tended to al­low trainee pi­lots to eas­ily tran­si­tion to such ad­vanced ro­tary winged air­craft as the Bell CV-22 Osprey. The first TH-1H was rolled out in Novem­ber 2005, and an ini­tial con­tract for nine he­li­copters was is­sued on Jan­uary 25, 2006. Testing the air­craft and de­vel­op­ing the train­ing pro­gramme had the sys­tem ready for the first class of trainees in the sum­mer of 2007 and by 2014 40 TH-1HS were in ser­vice.

US Army

One of the seven YUH-1DS or­dered in 1960, still fit­ted with the short tail boom and 44ft span ro­tor.

US Army

UH-1D Iro­quois he­li­copters air­lift mem­bers of the 2nd Bat­tal­ion, 14th In­fantry Reg­i­ment from the Fil­hol Rub­ber Plan­ta­tion dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Wahi­awa, a search and de­stroy mission con­ducted by the 25th In­fantry Di­vi­sion, north­east of Cu Chi,viet­nam.

US Army

The UH-1D quickly be­came the stan­dard troop trans­port for the US Army in Viet­nam. Here a pla­toon from Troop B, 1st Re­con­nais­sance Squadron, 9th Cav­alry Reg­i­ment, 1st Cav­alry Di­vi­sion (Air­mo­bile) un­load from a UH-1D he­li­copter hov­er­ing above the ridge line.

US Army

The pro­duc­tion UH-1D fea­tured a 48ft span ro­tor and there­fore needed a longer tail boom to ac­com­mo­date it.

The UH-1D also be­gan equip­ping mede­vac units from its in­tro­duc­tion into the Viet­nam theatre. The ver­ti­cal stan­chions and hook mounts for three stretch­ers can be seen in the cabin.

The UH-1D and H night il­lu­mi­na­tors, known as flare­ships, ini­tially used a va­ri­ety of sys­tems to deploy the Mk.45 flares, such as ejec­tor racks mounted on the side, or sim­ple bins where the flares could be dropped man­u­ally.

US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum

US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum

The tem­po­rary flare sys­tems were re­placed by the XM19 which stored 24 Mk.45 flares and de­ployed them through the cabin door.

The flare­ships be­gan to be sup­ple­mented by the Fire­fly or Light­ning Bug il­lu­mi­na­tors, ini­tially equipped with seven land­ing lights on a man­u­ally steer­able mount in the cabin door.

US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum

US Army US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum

If the Nighthawk Huey did not wish to re­veal its lo­ca­tion to en­emy forces by us­ing the Xenon searchlight in white light mode, it could mark tar­gets for the gun­ships with just the trac­ers from the M134 mini­gun. In the South East Asia theatre a num­ber of UH-1DS and Hs were fit­ted with drum and pump or ram air sys­tems in the cabin with spray bars ex­tend­ing from the sides to de­liver a range of chem­i­cal de­fo­liants and in­sec­ti­cides.

Two views of the AN/VSS-3 Xenon searchlight and the AN/TVS-4 Night Ob­ser­va­tion De­vice (NOD) mounted next to an M134 mini­gun on a Nighthawk UH-1H. Note the flash sup­pres­sor muz­zles on the mini­guns.

US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum

The UH-1H was the pow­er­ful mede­vac and troop trans­port he­li­copter the US Army needed, quickly fill­ing both roles.this UH1H is fit­ted with an infrared jam­mer un­der the tail boom, air in­take blank­ing plates and an ex­haust that dis­trib­uted the heat of the ex­haust into the ro­tor, all of which were mea­sures aimed at help­ing to de­feat heat seek­ing mis­siles. Note the HF ra­dio an­tenna zig-zag­ging down the tail boom.

US Army

US Army

Aside from be­ing re­li­able, the UH-1H was also long lived in front line US Army ser­vice. Here, a UH-1H of Bat­tery B, 1st Bat­tal­ion, 159th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment, 18th Avi­a­tion Brigade, flies over an aban­doned town in SaudiAra­bia dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Desert Shield on De­cem­ber 9, 1990.

Ruth AS

Thirty HH-1HS, a fire fight­ing and res­cue vari­ant, were de­liv­ered to the US Air Force be­tween 1970 and 1973. Note the tail ro­tor is on the star­board side of the fin.

US Army US Army US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum

The AN/ALQ-144 infrared jam­mer was fit­ted both above and be­low the UH-1H dur­ing its ca­reer, this one seen at Fort Rucker dur­ing cold weather tri­als in 1978.This UH-1H is also fit­ted with the air in­take blank­ing plates and an­gled ex­haust to help re­duce the he­li­copters heat sig­na­ture to a min­i­mum. The JUH-1H(SO­TAS) on the ground show­ing the longer un­der­car­riage and the SLAR in the stowed po­si­tion. The JUH-1H(SO­TAS) ver­sion of the Huey in flight with the un­der­car­riage legs in the re­tracted po­si­tion and the AN/APS 94 Side­ways Look­ing Radar (SLAR) ro­tated side­ways.

A to­tal of 220 UH-1H air­frames were given a mid-life up­grade with im­proved avion­ics to be­come the UH-1V mede­vac and res­cue ver­sion of the Huey. The lat­est up­grade to the long bod­ied sin­gle en­gined Huey is the TH-1H, an ad­vanced pi­lot trainer for the US Air Force with the T53-L-703 en­gine and an all glass cock­pit.

An­other type known as the JUH-1H was fit­ted with a false gun­ner’s cock­pit in the cen­tre of the nose to sim­u­late the Mil Mi-24 Hind attack he­li­copter for US Army train­ing units.

The sole UH-1H fit­ted with the Multi Tar­get Elec­tronic War­fare Sys­tem (MULTEWS), aimed at pro­vid­ing counter mor­tar and counter bat­tery radar jamming. Known as the EH-1U, this he­li­copter crashed dur­ing testing at Ed­wards Air Force Base.

US Army


Bruce Lei­bowitz

US Army

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