A helicopter for the world
The operators of the ubiquitous Huey
The Huey was to sell around the world almost from the moment it first flew, the light but powerful design proving to be the solution to operators’ needs in climates and conditions that had severely limited helicopter performance in the past. When this performance was added to the sheer reliability built into the Huey, it was not only a popular choice but a ver y long lived one.
The use of the single engined variants of the Huey in Latin America has been thoroughly covered by Santiago Rivas in his article on page 64 of this issue, but that is only part of the helicopter’s international success. The US and UK’S use of the type has been similarly covered in detail, but here we list the forces that have used, and indeed still use, the Huey in its many other forms, including the multiengined variants.
In 2008, 10 ex-us Army UH-1HS were supplied to the Afghan Air Force to operate as pilot trainers and utility transports alongside the larger fleet of Mil Mi-17s. These remain on strength as of 2014.
The Albanian Air Force acquired three Agusta Bell AB 205A-1s as utility transports from Italy in 2004, four more being ordered for delivery by 2006. Three remain in service as of 2014.
The Algerian Air Force has three Bell 412s supplied by the US during the late 1980s.
The Angolan National Air Force has nine Bell 212s currently on strength, the first four being delivered during 2005 followed by five more in 2013.
Aside from the air force, army and navy use of the UH-1D and H as already discussed, the
Army took delivery of two Model 212s, AE450 and 451, in 1976. AE-451 was lost in the Antarctic on January 11, 1977, while 450 is still used as a VIP transport. The Fuerza Aerea Argentina took delivery of 12 Model 212s (H81 to H-88) between 1978 and 1982, two being transferred from the Israeli Air Force, followed by one more in 2000. These were used as utility transports and search and rescue aircraft, one being transferred to Canada in 2003 and one to Brazil in 2006. The fleet has been expanded with the acquisition of three Bell 412s in 2014 to supplement the remaining seven 212s.
The first overseas customer for the UH-1 was Australia, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) taking delivery of 24 UH-1BS between September 1962 and early 1964. They were followed by two UH-1DS and 54 UH-1HS beginning in 1966, 25 of the later being ex-us Army aircraft. These all served with 5 and 9 Squadrons, the latter being deployed to Vietnam in 1966 in the medevac and troop transport roles. To escort these missions, several of the 9 Squadron UH-1HS were converted to gunships, known as Bushrangers. These were fitted with twin M134 miniguns and seven tube rocket pods, some with both on the rear mounts, some with the guns on the forward mounts and rocket pods on the rear. The rear mounts also supported pintles, which unusually mounted a pair of M60 machine guns for the door gunners. Tremendously effective for a relatively small unit, the 9 Squadron UH-1S flew nearly 223,500 sorties during the conflict for the loss of only five helicopters. The UH-1BS began to be replaced in 1984, a number being transferred to the RAAF School of Radio at Laverton before being disposed of during the early 1990s, several to the civil market. The RAAF UH-1HS were also deployed as part of the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai region of Egypt between 1982 and 1986. In 1989 the responsibility for battlefield helicopters was transferred to Army Aviation, the UH-1HS being taken over by the 171st Aviation Squadron and the 5th Aviation Regiment which flew them until the last was retired in September 2007. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) also operated the UH-1 in an interesting mix of models. All of the eight helicopters were basically UH-1BS with the T53-L-11 turbines and narrow chord rotors. However, at least two were fitted with the larger internal fuel tanks of the UH-1C and all of them had the roof mounted cabin winches of the UH-1E. All of these aircraft were operated by 723 Squadron from 1964, several helicopters from the unit being deployed to Vietnam with the Australian Experimental Military Unit. The last of the RAN Hueys were retired in 1989.
The Austrian Air Force (Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte) was the first export customer for the Agusta Bell AB 204, the first of 26 AB 204Bs being delivered in May 1963. These were to serve with the 2nd Hubschrauberstaffel of the 3rd Fliegerregiment based at Linz/hörsching and were given the codes 4D-BA to BZ. By 1981, these began to be withdrawn, five being transferred to the Swedish Air Force and one to the civil register in Italy as I-HUEY. The AB 204Bs were gradually replaced by 26 AB 212s, the first 18 of which were ordered in 1977 and entered service in 1980. These were given the codes 5D-HA to HZ and served with the 1st and 3rd Fliegerregiment, currently equipping the 3rd Fliegerregiment and the Leichte Transporthubschrauberstaffel. In 2013 the Air Support Command undertook an avionics upgrade and life extension programme to the airframes which should see the AB 212s remain in service for at least another 10 years.
The Bahrain Public Security Service ordered a single Bell 205A-1 in 1975 which entered service in 1977 with the serial BPS-7. It was retired in 1979, becoming 9V-BML registered in Singapore. In 1982, the Bahrain State Police acquired its first two Bell 412s, BPS-03 and 04, followed by a 412SP, BPS-05, in 1989. These were joined by five more 412EPS between 2008 and 2009 which remain in service today. The Royal Bahraini Air Force began purchasing Agusta Bell AB 212s with the acquisition of a pair of helicopters in 1980, initially operated by 3 Squadron at Rifa’a. In 2014, the fleet had grown to 18 airframes.
The Bangladesh Air Force (Bangladesh Biman Bahini) ordered its first Bell 212 in 1976, and over the next 10 years it was to acquire 14 more. The original aircraft, BH806, c/n 30806, was sold to a Canadian civil operator in 2008, the rest remain in service today.
The use of the UH-1H by Bolivia has already been covered, but it is worth noting that two
Bell 212s were also acquired by the Bolivian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana) in 1972, given the serial numbers FAB-101 and 102. FAB-101 was later transferred to the Royal Brunei Air Force, while 102 was written off in an accident in March 1980.
The Air Force Brigade of Bosnia Herzegovina was given 15 ex-us Army Bell UH-1H helicopters as part of the ‘Equip and Train’ programme following the civil war in the country. Five of these aircraft are in regular use today in transport, medevac and training roles, the remainder are kept as a reserve.
Beginning in 1988, the Botswana Defence Force Air Wing received five Bell 412SPS followed by two more of the 412EP model in 1990. These helicopters remain in service today.
The Sultanate of Brunei Air Wing, now the Royal Brunei Air Force, began its Huey operations in 1971. The first acquisitions were three Bell 212s (AMDB-101, 105 and 106) and a single 205A-1 (AMDB-102), which were followed by 11 more Bell 212s (AMDB-108, 114 to 120 and 131 to 134). Nine of the helicopters remain in service today.
Two Bell 412EPS were delivered to the Cameroon Air Force’s Rapid Intervention Battalion in February 2010, one being lost in an accident in November that year, the other remaining in service today.
The first Hueys for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) were 10 CUH-1HS purchased in 1968 and given the serials RCAF 101 to 110. These were UH-1HS modified for use in the extreme climates to be found in Canada. Later redesignated CH-118 Iroquois, they served as light transports and search and rescue aircraft until being replaced in the mid 1990s. One of the aircraft, RCAF 109, had the tail boom of a Bell 212 installed with the tail rotor on the starboard side after its tail boom was used to repair RCAF 105, 109 sometimes being referred to as a CH-119. The success of the first Hueys in service ensured that Canada was the first customer to order the twin engined version of the Huey, the Model 212 or UH-1N. The twin engined layout offered greater safety in the rugged Canadian operating environment. Initially known as CUH-1NS but later designated CH135s, 50 of the new type were ordered, the first being delivered on May 3, 1971. Given the serials 135101 to 135150, all 50 aircraft were delivered in under a year. Aside from their domestic duties in support of the Canadian Forces, the helicopters were to see widespread use in support of UN operations across the globe. Canadian CH-135S were to perform peacekeeping and monitoring duties in Sinai, Somalia, Haiti and Central America among others, until the last were retired in July 1997. The surviving 41 airframes were purchased by the US Government in December 1999. Two were retained in the US, the other 39 being supplied to the Columbian Army, Navy and the National Police. Both the CH-118 and CH-135 were replaced in service by the CH-146 Griffon, a development of the Bell 412EP with a larger cabin heater for the cold conditions in Canada and an avionics suite tailored for the Canadian armed forces. Produced at the Bell factory in Mirabel, Canada, 100 CH-146S were delivered between 1995 and 1997 and given the serials 146400 to 146499. They have been used in the search and rescue, combat support and tactical transport roles with 10 RCAF Squadrons and are not expected to be retired until at least 2021. Nine of the CH-146S were given civil registrations and transferred to Allied Wings in 2007, who operate the pilot and crew training facility for the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 2008, five CH-146S were deployed to Kandahar in Afghanistan to operate as part of the Joint Task Force Air Wing based there.
The Chilean use of the UH-1H has been covered in detail earlier in this issue, the gradual replacement of these helicopters by the Bell 412 beginning in 2000. Currently, 15 412s, mostly 412EPS, are in service alongside the remaining UH-1HS. The Chilean Navy purchased a Bell 412 in 2001 which it operated for five years until 2006, when it was transferred to a civil operator in the US.
The UH-1B and H use by the Columbian Air Force, Army and Police has already been covered, but these forces and the Navy have also been equipped with the 212 and 412 versions of the helicopter. The Columbian Air Force acquired a single Bell 212 in 1972 as a VIP transport, this helicopter being followed in 1984 by two more transferred from the Columbian Police and five from the US. In 1995, the 212 fleet was further expanded with nine more helicopters, all of which were formerly Canadian civil registered aircraft. Also to be used in the VIP transport role, two Bell 412s were purchased in 1984, one being lost in 1991 and replaced by a Bell 412HP in 1993. This aircraft was also lost in an accident in early 2012, and was replaced by a Bell 412EP in October that year. Ten Bell 212s and two 412s remain in service with the Air Force today. As already mentioned, the entire fleet of Canadian armed forces version of the Bell 212, the CH-135, were purchased by the US State Department, 33 of which were transferred to the Columbian Army in 1999. Sixteen of these helicopters remain in service today, some having been transferred again to the Columbian Navy and Police. Six of the CH-135S were moved to the Columbian Navy in April 2009, five of which are still in service supplemented by four Bell 412SPS refurbished by Israeli Aircraft Industries and purchased in 1998. Since then, two more Bell 412EPS were delivered in January 2014, the twin engined Hueys being used by the Navy to support their Naval Infantr y forces. The Columbian Police first acquired three Bell 212s in 1980, two of which were transferred to the Columbian Air Force in 1984. These were replaced by three ex-us Air Force UH-1NS, one of which was lost in an accident in December 2005. As with the Columbian Army and Navy, the Police also received CH-135S, in their case 10 helicopters transferred in 1999. Since then, one aircraft, PNC-5005, has been scrapped and one other, PNC-5008, was lost in an accident in January 2002.
As covered earlier, the Fuerza Aerea Salvadoreña operates the UH-1H and M, but in 2001 also acquired five Bell 412EPS. One of these, FAS 254, was converted into a VIP transport for the President in 2006.
The Eritrean Air Force operates the Agusta Bell AB 412 Grifone with 7 Squadron. Four were purchased in 1996 and three remain in service today.
A confusing set of data regarding the supply of Hueys to Ethiopia leads me to believe that there were two separate acquisitions. The first was that the Ethiopian Air Force received six ex-us Army Bell UH-1HS, sometimes wrongly identified as Bell 205s, in the late 1960s or early 1970s, helicopters that were later transferred to the Army in the transport role. These were supplemented in the early 1980s by the purchase of six Agusta Bell AB 205s for the Air Force and six Agusta Bell AB 204Bs for the Ethiopian Army. The latter have sometimes been misidentified as UH-1MS and operate in the gunship role with the Army. Today, it is believed all Ethiopian Hueys are operated by the Army, and 12 remain in service. If anyone has clear information regarding the origin and current status of these helicopters we would be pleased to publish it on our website.
The aftermath of the break up of the former Soviet Union saw independent air forces formed in many former states. The Georgian Air Force was formed in 1992, seeing action that year against separatists in Abkhazia, and again in August 2008 in the short war with Russia. Beginning in 2002, 12 ex-us Army UH-1HS and six UH-1NS were supplied to act as transport and liaison aircraft. At the NATO Wales summit in September 2014, it was announced that these helicopters would be supplemented with a force of UH-60 Blackhawks as part of a programme to retire the former Soviet types from the Georgian inventory.
The 352 Dornier licence built UH-1DS for the German Luftwaffe and Heer has already been covered in detail on page 86. As well as these single engined versions, the Bundesgrenzschutz (BGS) began to receive the first of 10 Bell 212 twin engined helicopters in 1974, the last being delivered in 1978. The BGS was merged into the Bundespolizei in 2005, the helicopters being transferred to the new service. In May 2012, after 38 years of continuous service, the last two Bell 212s were retired, going to civil operators in Germany and South Africa.
The Ghana Air Force originally acquired two Agusta Bell AB 212s toward the end of the
1980s with the serials G650 and 651 for use as VIP transports in a flight based at Accra. These were later supplemented with a pair of Bell 412SPS which were operated by 3 Squadron also at Accra. One 212 was lost in an accident in 2002, while a 412 was lost in a landing accident in 2007.
The Hellenic Air Force, Navy and Army Aviation have been, and indeed still are, operators of several versions of the Huey. The first were supplied to the Hellenic Army Aviation under the US Military Assistance Programme (MAP) in 1969. A total of 18 Bell UH-1DS and 68 UH-1HS were delivered in batches over the next four years to perform utility transport duties and a single Bell 212, EΣ801, was acquired in 1972 to act as a VIP transport and communications aircraft. This reliable helicopter remains in service in this role today. The transport helicopters were supplemented by three Agusta Bell AB 204Bs and 40 AB 205As delivered between 1974 and 1979. Eight of the AB 205As were later transferred to the Hellenic Air Force in exchange for their CH-47D Chinooks in a rationalisation of the transport force. A total of 69 UH-1S and 27 AB 205As remain in service today. As well as the eight AB 205As transferred from Army Aviation, the Hellenic Air Force received two batches of their own Hueys, six AB 205As in 1972 followed by a further six AB 205A-1s. These 20 helicopters were all operated by 358 Squadron at Elefsis in the medevac and search and rescue roles, 12 of which remain in service today. This unit also received four Bell 212s in two batches of two beginning in 1972, using the aircraft in the VIP transport role. The Hellenic Navy began to receive its first batch of 11 Agusta Bell AB 212ASW antisubmarine warfare helicopters in 1979, eight of which remain in service today. These were supplemented by two AB 212EW electronic warfare helicopters in 1981.
The Guyana Defence Force Air Command flew three Bell 212s, SR-GEO, GEQ and GEZ, between 1976 and 1994. A single Bell 412 was purchased in 1984, and is now the only Huey operated by the force.
The use of the UH-1B and H by the Fuerza Aérea Hondureña has already been covered, but in 1986 the force began to take delivery of the first of 10 Bell 412SPS in the utility transport, medevac and fire fighting roles. In 2014 a single 412EP was purchased for use as the Presidential VIP transport.
The Indonesian Army acquired 16 Bell 205A-1 helicopters in 1977, 12 of which are still listed as in service as of 2014. In 1988, four locally produced Nbell 412s were delivered to the Indonesian Army as attack helicopters, while six more were delivered to the Navy in the anti-submarine and shipping roles. Today, 37 Nbell 412s are listed as in service with the Army and three more with the Navy.
The Imperial Iranian Air Force, Army and Navy had all been supplied with the Bell 205, 205A and 212 prior to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. An order for 12 additional Bell 212s for the navy had been placed as late as 1990 to supplement the 14 already in service. However, the most numerous version of the Huey acquired by Iran was the 214A, a more powerful Huey with the 2930hp Lycoming LTC4B-8D turbine which had been developed specifically from Iranian Army interest in a high performance version. The first aircraft was delivered to Iran Imperial Army Aviation on April 26, 1975, Iran ordering 287 Model 214As from Bell along with 50 more to be built in Iran under licence. Iran also requested a version of the 214A equipped for search and rescue missions for the Imperial Iranian Air Force, which became known as the 214C. Eventually, 296 214As and 39 214Cs were delivered before the 1979 Revolution, which ended the plans for licence production. Information on the current fleet is conflicting and difficult to confirm but it is estimated that the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force still operates two Bell 212s, while the Islamic Republic of Iran Army has around 15 Bell 212s and 214s in service and the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy four Bell 212s. Along with these aircraft, an unknown number of the reverse engineered Panha Shabaviz 2-75 which entered production in 2002 have been built, based on the 205 and 214C airframe.
In 2005, the US supplied 16 ex-royal Jordanian Air Force UH-1HS upgraded to Huey II standard to the Iraqi Army Aviation Command to support security operations in the country. The Iraqi Air Force has also placed an order for 12 Bell 412s to fulfil the utility transport role.
The Israeli Defence Force Air Force operated a number of UH-1DS and 10 Agusta Bell AB 205A-1AS between 1969 and 1975. The latter model included fuselage strengthening for weapons mounts and a military avionics suite and was produced specifically for the Israeli Defence Force Air Force for use as both troop transports and gunships. These were followed by seven Bell 212s and two UH-1NS which were used between 1975 and 2002.
The successful and long running production of various models of the Huey by Agusta in Italy has been covered earlier on page 86. Beginning in 1961, the Agusta Bell AB 204B was produced for the Italian military, 43 being operated by the Italian Air Force until 1984 and 48 by the Italian Army up to 1995. Further examples were produced for the Corpo Carabinieri as well as the Vigili del Fuoco, the Italian fire fighting organisation. The development of the first antisubmarine Huey, the AB 204AS of 1964, saw 35 built for the Italian Navy who used them up to the early 1980s. The introduction of the AB 205A in 1966 and the AB 205A-1 three years later saw 115 of these models produced for the Italian Army, 60 of which are still in service today. Four more were built for the Vigili del Fuoco in 1971 and eight for the Corpo Carabinieri in 1974, along with a single AB 205B, the latter using them until 1998. The twin engined AB 212 entered production in 1973, 65 of the 212ASW antisubmarine helicopter and three of the 212GE electronic warfare variant being built for the Italian Navy, 38 of which remain in service today. A further 33 examples of the AB 212AM were built for the Italian Air Force along with three of the AB 212ICO Combat Search and Rescue helicopters. These began to enter service in 1975 and 33 remain in service today. The Italian Army received 19 AB 212s for use as utility transports beginning in 1983, six of which are still in use. The most recent production version, the AB 412, began production in 1983 with 37 being built for the Corpo Carabinieri, 10 of which were AB 412SPS and 15 more AB 412HPS. In 1987, 24 of the AB 412 Grifone were built in three batches for the Italian Army, all of which are still in service today. These were followed by 23 AB 412s for the Vigili del Fuoco delivered in three batches beginning in 1984 and 10 more for the Italian Coast Guard delivered in 1993. Two other state services in Italy operate the AB 412, the State Forestry Department received 18 and the Guardia di Finanza a further 22 examples.
Aside from the four UH-1HS already covered, the Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing operated three Bell 212s with the 2nd Flight, JDF6, 7 and 8, between 1973 and 1999. In 1998, the 2nd Flight acquired a single Bell 412EP which is still flown today.
Licence production of the UH-1B and Bell 204B by Fuji in Japan began in 1962. A total of 86 UH-1BS and four 204Bs were built for the Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) which used them in the utility transport and gunship roles up to 1975. These were followed into production by 133 UH-1HS, again for the JGSDF to replace the UH-1BS. The first entered service in 1970, 28 of which remain in service today. Fuji also developed the 205B-2, an upgraded military transport version known as the UH-1J. This featured the more streamlined nose of the Model 212 and the uprated 1800hp T53-L-703 engine, along with infrared jammers, a night vision goggle compatible cockpit and a vibration reduction system. Fuji built 126 of this version for the JGSDF, the first being delivered in 1993. The Japanese Coast Guard used a single Bell 212 between 1981 and 2009, and still uses a single Bell 412EP today.
The Royal Jordanian Air Force acquired 36 exUS Army UH-1HS and 10 EX-USAF UH-1NS beginning in 1994 under a Mutual Defence Acquisition Programme with the US. Sixteen of the UH-1HS were supplied to the Iraqi Army Aviation Command to assist in security operations in 2005. The remainder equip 8 Squadron at Amman and are used in the utility transport, special forces support and border security roles. Many of the Jordanian Hueys have been upgraded with the BLR under fuselage strakes to improve their performance in high temperatures.
The Kuwait Air Force operated eight Agusta Bell AB 205As, the first of which was delivered in November 1969. These were given the serials 909 to 916 and served into the late 1980s, after which they were replaced by the Aérospatiale SA 330F Puma.
The Lao People’s Liberation Army Air Force acquired approximately 12 UH-1DS and Hs supplied by the US and then left in country in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Four of these helicopters are reported to still be in service.
Four variants of the Huey are in service with the Lebanese Air Force, the first six Bell 212s having entered service in 1980. These were followed by an additional six Agusta Bell 212s, but by 2000 these helicopters had all been withdrawn to storage. Six of the airframes may yet be refurbished. Alongside the 212s, 24 UH-1HS had begun to be delivered in 1995. Several of these were locally modified with three pylons, one under the centreline and one on either side of the rear cabin to carry either 250kg or 400kg bombs, an unusual role for a helicopter. These saw action against militant forces in Lebanon in 2007, but it was decided to upgrade the helicopters after this experience, 11 of the UH-1HS being placed in storage from 2010 onwards. Six more UH1Hs, converted to the Huey II standard by Bell, were delivered in December 2012 and it is intended that 18 more Huey IIS will be ordered to fully replace the original UH-1H fleet.
Two Agusta Bell AB 412s were purchased for the Lesotho Defence Force Air Wing in April 1986, followed by a Bell 412SP in October. One of the AB 412s, LDF24, was destroyed in an accident in 1993, while one of the Bell 412SPS, LDF26, was sold in 2001. These were replaced by LDF49, a Bell 412SP purchased in May 1998, and LDF47, a Bell 412EP purchased in May 2007.
The Libyan Army purchased two Agusta Bell AB 212s in the late 1980s. Their use and whereabouts are unknown.
The Macedonian Air Force’s Transporten Helikoperski Skvadron based at Petrovec operate two ex-hellenic Army UH-1HS which were transferred to Macedonia in 2001.
The use of the single engined Huey variants was covered earlier in this issue, but the Fuerza Aerea Mexicana received its first two Bell 212s in 1971, followed by a second pair in 1975. Between 1988 and 1990, 25 more were purchased, seven of the fleet being lost in accidents and one sold over the next 25 years leaving 21 in service today. The 212s were partially replaced by 12 Bell 412EPS delivered in three batches, four in 2002, five in 2009 and three in 2010. One additional 412EP, FAM 1213, was purchased in December 2012 to replace 1208, which had been shot down near Culiacan on June 19, 2010. The Mexican Government has also purchased 25 Bell 212s for official use between 1972 and 1990. Eight of these were sold and four were lost in accidents, but the surviving 13 airframes were transferred to Servicios Aereos Especiales Mexicanos SA (SAESMA), eight of which are still operated by the company today.
In 1969, the Royal Moroccan Air Force purchased 48 Agusta Bell AB 205As, given the registrations CN-AJA-01 to CN-AKV-48. Five of these helicopters, CN-AJM-13 to CN-AJQ17, were ex-italian Army AB 205A-1s. Remarkably, 47 of these airframes are still listed as in service today. In the early 1980s, five Agusta Bell AB 212s were purchased and given the registrations CN-APA-01 to CN-APE05. These too are still operating with the air force today.
In 1975 the Myanmar Air Force received 18 Bell 205A helicopters from the US as part of the International Narcotic Control Programme (INCP) to assist its forces in combating drug traffickers. These were given the serials UB-6201 to 6218, 14 of which remain in service today.
The Royal Netherlands Navy purchased nine Agusta Bell AB 204Bs in 1961 and was to operate these until they were retired in 1978. Between 1994 and January 2015, the Royal Netherlands Air Force operated three bright yellow Agusta Bell AB 412SPS in the search and rescue role. These three airframes were retired and were transferred to the Peruvian Navy along with the resupply ship BAP Tacna.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force received 16 Hueys beginning in 1966. The first five, NZ3801 to NZ3805 were built as UH-1DS and converted to UH-1HS prior to delivery. These were followed by 10 UH-1HS, NZ3806 to NZ3816, of which three were lost in accidents in 1972, 1995 and 2010. The remaining 13 airframes are still in service today with 3 Squadron based at Hobsonville.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force purchased 37 UH-1BS in 1963, equipping 339, 719 and 720 Squadrons. Interestingly, four of the UH-1BS, 853 to 856, were in fact UH-1CS modified to Norwegian B standard and delivered in the mid-1970s. The last of these helicopters were not to retire until 1990, a remarkable service history. In 1986 the replacement for the early Hueys was ordered in the form of 19 Bell 412SPS. These were delivered between 1987 and 1990 and replaced the UH-1B in 339 and 720 Squadrons. The entire fleet has been upgraded to 412HP standard, 18 of the helicopters remain in service today and have
been deployed to both Kosovo and Afghanistan. Norway’s civil operators were also customers for the Bell 214B, seven being flown by Lufttransport AS from 1981 to 1998 and two being operated by Helitrans As from 2001 through to today.
The Sultanate of Oman Air Force purchased 20 Agusta Bell 205As in 1971, equipping 3 and 14 Squadrons with the type at Salalah and Seeb air bases. Two more of the helicopters were purchased from Zimbabwe in 1978 to replace losses and five remain in service today. Between 1975 and 1980, 14 Squadron also operated a pair of Bell 212s as the Royal Flight VIP transports, replaced by a pair of Agusta Bell AB 212s between 1978 and 2002. The Royal Oman Police also operated six of the stretched Bell 214ST transports from 1983 until 2006. Two of the airframes are still in storage in Oman.
The floods in Southern Pakistan in 1973 saw six UH-1HS and their crews transferred from the US to serve as a relief flight. At the end of this operation, the aircraft were left at Dhamial to allow them to take part in further relief flights if required and the crews returned to the US. It was then decided to transfer the aircraft directly to Pakistan Army Aviation, and a mobile training team was despatched from the US to train the Pakistan pilots and ground crews in 1974. Major Hamid Choudhry became the Pakistan instructor pilot on the type, becoming the first CO of 6 Squadron when it was formed on June 29 and moved to Quetta. Earlier in May 1973, Pakistan Army Aviation helicopters had taken part in counter insurgency operations in Balochistan. They had been assisted in these operations by helicopters and crews from the Imperial Iranian Army. In 1974, instead of detaching helicopters and crews, the Shah of Iran gifted 10 Agusta Bell AB 205As to supplement the US UH-1HS. In October 1974 Pakistan Army pilots went to Iran for conversion training, ferrying the AB 205As to Quetta on November 5. These aircraft and the UH-1HS were almost immediately in action against insurgents and were to have a long and successful career in Army Aviation, the reliability of the type being illustrated by the fact that one of the aircraft is still in service today. The utility transport helicopters of Pakistan Army Aviation have to cope with a wide range of conditions, from high altitude operations in the mountains to the north to the high temperatures of summer in the south. To deal with these conditions, the Bell 412EP was chosen and a total of 26 were ordered. Between 2004 and 2005, these were delivered in three batches along with training support and other resources from the US. Since then an additional six helicopters have been purchased and 40 more are on order. The majority of the fleet operates in support of the Ministry of the Interior supporting counter insurgency and transport operations within the country.
The single engined Hueys used by Panama have been covered earlier in this issue. To supplement the UH-1HS and replace the UH-1BS in service, the Fuerza Aerea Panamena purchased four UH-1NS in 1975 serialled FAP-001 to 004. Three of these were transferred to the Servicio Nacional Aeronaval in 1990 with the reorganisation of the Panamanian forces, becoming 120 to 122. Two more UH-1NS were purchased that year, 100 and 101, the former being lost in an accident in May 2008. Four more UH-1NS were purchased in 2003 and 2004 and one remains in service today. The first Bell 412 was leased for testing by the Fuerza Aerea Panamena in 1982 as FAP-1011. Two more 412EPS were purchased for the Servicio Nacional Aeronaval, AN-135 in 2009 and AN-137 in 2012, the former remaining in service today.
As already related, the Peruvian Air Force and Navy operated the UH-1D and H, but they also operated the 214ST, the 212 and 412. The Fuerza Aerea del Peru received its first Bell 212, FAP-600, in 1973 and were to receive 30 more in batches up until 1982. One more, FAP-685, was added in 1986 to replace a helicopter that had been lost in an accident. These were used in the utility transport and search and rescue roles, but could also be armed with rocket pods and guns for air support operations, some of which are still in service today. In 1983, the FAP also acquired six Bell 214ST stretched transports for transport and VIP use. These were initially based alongside many of the 212s at Jorge Chavez Airport with Escuadrón de Helicópteros 332 and are now based at Lima Callao. Three of the 214STS were sold off in 2003 and 2004, one was lost in an accident and the remaining two are believed to be in storage. The FAP also acquired a pair of Bell 412EPS, one of which was lost, the other is operated by Escuadrón de Helicópteros 332 today. The Marina de Guerra de Peru purchased six Agusta Bell AB 212ASWS, HE-470 to 475, deliveries beginning in 1978. These are used in the antisubmarine, maritime patrol, search and rescue and transport roles based aboard the Navy’s frigates and destroyers.
Two remain in service today upgraded with the RDR-1700B ISAR radar and a further airframe is in storage. The resupply ship BAP Tacna was transferred to the Peruvian Navy from the Netherlands in December 2014, along with three Bell 412SPS formerly of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
The Philippine Air Force has been a major operator of the Huey since it received its first batch of six UH-1DS beginning in 1968. This was followed by six more batches of UH-1HS, 28 in 1971, 17 in 1977, 18 in 1980, 27 in 1983, eight in 1985 and 10 in 1987. Most were ex-us Army helicopters, some of which were refurbished Model 205 and 205A-1 airframes. The harsh operating conditions in the heat of the mountainous islands with their dense jungles meant an additional 10 UH-1HS were delivered in 1992 to replace losses and a modernisation programme began to upgrade the fleet. In 2004 12 more modernised UH-1HS were purchased along with an integrated logistics support package. At the same time, a contract was issued to refurbish six Philippine UH-1HS in the US. These were all delivered by 2007 along with 10 additional UH-1HS. As well as these helicopters, 46 more UH-1HS were delivered between 2000 and 2010, 20 of them via Singapore Aerospace Technologies with night vision goggle compatible cockpits and other upgrades, including fully refurbished zero timed airframes. Several upgraded medevac UH-1VS were also received as part of the later batches. In December 2013, a contract was issued in the US to Rice Aircraft Services and Eagle Copter to supply 21 refurbished UH-1HS, all of which were delivered during 2014. Beginning in 2005, kits were delivered to the Philippines to upgrade two UH-1HS to Huey II standard with the more streamlined 212 nose, glass cockpit, more powerful engine and modified main and tail rotors. Eight more upgrades to Huey II are on order. The complex and overlapping nature of these various acquisitions mean that the fleet today consists of 40 UH-1HS of differing standards and equipment levels, along with eight Bell 205As a search and rescue aircraft with the 505th Search and Rescue Group. The UH-1HS are used as utility transports and in response to natural disasters, as well as in counter insurgency operations against various rebel groups. As well as the UH-1HS, the Philippine Air Force also operates the Bell 412, the first two of which, a pair of 412HPS, were received in 1994 followed by five more 412EPS in 1996. The fleet is operated by the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing and five remain in service today. Eight more 412EPS were ordered from Bell in March 2014, three are to be configured as VIP transports, the other five as militar y utility transports.
The Polish Air Force acquired a single Bell 412HP in 2004 coded 02. This aircraft remains in service.
The first Hueys to enter service with the Royal Saudi Air Force were 24 Agusta Bell AB 204B ordered in 1964. These were to serve into the early 1970s, 23 were still in service in 1972 but they were to be replaced soon after with the AB 205A-1, four of which were ordered in 1967. The first entered service in 1971 and all 24 delivered were to serve with 12 and 14 Squadrons at At’taif. They were used as utility transports and search and rescue aircraft, and at least one of the fleet was configured as a VIP transport. By 1996, 20 remained in regular use, but they were retired the following year as they were replaced by Agusta Bell AB 212s. Altogether 34 AB 212s were delivered to the country, again serving with 12 and 14 Squadrons in the utility transport, search and rescue and VIP transport roles. Of the original 212 fleet, 25 remained in service in 1998, but they were already beginning to be replaced by the Bell 412EP. The 412s were used in the search and rescue role initially as they had greater range and capabilities for such missions, 40 being delivered by 1998. In 2001 it was decided to upgrade the fleet’s SAR capabilities with the latest 412EP version with its all glass cockpit, SAR tactical navigation system, advanced sensors and autopilot, which allows an automated search pattern to be flown until a survivor is located, at which time the aircraft can fly an automated approach to hover to complete the rescue. Sixteen of the new versions were ordered with a training and support package, deliveries beginning in 2002. Today, 37 Bell 412s from both orders remain in service.
Senegal operates a single UH-1H but little is known of its history.
In 1977, 18 UH-1HS, two 205As and a single UH-1D were delivered to the Republic of Singapore Air Force to serve with 120 Squadron based at Sembawang, Changi and Seletar. To supplement this force, six ex-us Army UH-1BS were delivered in 1980 to serve with 123 Squadron. The earlier type was retired in 1988 and the remaining aircraft were sold off in 1996, but the UH-1HS were to continue in service until 2004. Also in 1977, three new Bell 212s were also delivered to 120 Squadron equipped as search and rescue aircraft. These were to be used until 1985 when all three were sold to private concerns in the UK.
In 1992 two Bell 412HPS, one 412SP and five 412EPS were delivered to the Slovenian Armed Forces, all eight remaining in service today. The Slovenia Police have also operated a single Agusta Bell AB 212 since 2000, registered S5-HPB.
The Somali Air Force purchased four Agusta Bell AB 212s in the late 1970s and used them until the beginning of the civil war in 1991.
The first Hueys used by the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF ) were 25 ex-us Army UH-1BS delivered in 1968. These were to be used in the utility transport role until retirement in 1994. In 1971, the ROKAF started operating their first twin engined Hueys with the delivery of three UH-1NS which were used for Presidential and VIP transport duties. Two more airframes were delivered in 1977 for the same purpose, the helicopters being used until they were retired in 2005. Today, the ROKAF has three Bell 412s in service with the 233 Combat Search and Rescue Squadron in the CSAR role. The Republic of Korea Army was to receive its first UH-1DS in 1972, followed by over 100 UH-1HS and around 20 UH-1NS during the late 1970s and 1980s. The prime use of this fleet was in utility transport support to army operations, particularly troop transport. Today, 91 UH-1HS remain in service. The Republic of Korea Navy also received 14 UH-1HS at the same time as the army to operate as utility transports, seven of which remain in service today. The Korean National Police Agency also use two Bell 412SPS and two 412EPS, one of the SPS having been transferred to the Coast Guard.
The Spanish Air Force first acquired Hueys in 1966 with the purchase of 14 Agusta Bell AB 205As which served as trainers and search and rescue aircraft with 801, 802 and 803 Squadrons before they were retired in 1991. In 1974, three UH-1HS were purchased for the Army Flying School to act as trainers for the AB 205As, three more being purchased to join the SAR fleet in 1975, along with a single example as a VIP transport. The last of these UH-1HS was retired in 1993. Between 1966 and 1984, the Spanish Army used six UH-1CS as trainers and support aircraft to the newly created Army Aviation Legion. The main element of this force was 60 UH-1HS which began to enter service in 1970, 16 of which remain in service today. In 1981, six Agusta Bell AB 212s were delivered to the Army, being assigned to BHELMA VI in 1986, a unit they still equip today. The Spanish Navy Purchased four Agusta Bell AB 204ASS as antisubmarine warfare aircraft in 1964, and were to use them with Escuadrilla 003 until they were retired in 1979. The AB 240ASS had begun to be replaced in 1974 with the arrival of the first of 14 Agusta Bell AB 212ASWS. These were all to be operated by the same unit in the antisubmarine role, eight of which are still in service.
The first two of 18 Bell 212s were acquired by the Sri Lanka Air Force in 1984 to equip 7 Squadron based at Katunayake. These helicopters were modified to carry pintle mounted door guns and 2.75in rocket pods to operate in the counter insurgency and assault roles. In 1988, the air force received its first pair of Bell 412s, four more being acquired over the next few years. The original pair of 412s were sold in 2012, having been replaced by a pair of the latest 412EP model delivered in 2011.
Two Bell 205As and three Agusta Bell AB 212s are reportedly in service with the Sudanese Air Force today, the 212s being the surviving airframes from 12 initially acquired in 1986.
The Flygvapnet or Swedish Air Force purchased seven Agusta Bell AB 204Bs in 1962, where they were known as Hkp-3bs. Five more ex-austrian Air Force AB 204Bs
were received in 1994, the aircraft being used as utility transports and communications aircraft until they were retired in 1998. Similarly the Swedish Army used 14 AB 204Bs between 1962 and 1997, three of which were transferred to the Försvarsmakten in 1998 where they were used until 2001. The Swedish Army also operated the Bell 412, known as the Hkp-11, the first pair of which were leased from Agusta for a year along with a 412SP in 1993. These were followed by five 412HPS in 1994 which were used until 1997 then transferred to the Försvarsmakten who used them up until 2004.
The Aero Industry Development Centre (AIDC) in Taiwan built 118 UH-1HS for the Republic of China Army between 1969 and 1976, 91 remaining in service in 2014. Aside from Army Aviation, UH-1HS are also operated by the National Fire Administration as aerial fire fighters.
The Tanzanian People’s Defence Force Air Wing acquired four Agusta Bell AB 205As in 1977, using them up until 1998. They had been replaced by three AB 412s, one of which was written off in an accident in April 2014, the other two remaining in service today.
During the Vietnam War, a number of UH-1AS and Bs were transferred to the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) as they were replaced by later models with the US Army. Just how many airframes were involved and when they were transferred is unclear, but in 1968, the first of the UH-1HS arrived. These helicopters were to be long lived in Thai service, the RTAF still operating 18 of the type and the Royal Thai Army still having 84 in the utility transport role. In 1976, the army transport fleet was bolstered with the arrival of the first of the Bell 212s, these being taken on charge in batches and disposed of as they aged, five being transferred to the Sri Lanka Air Force in 1990, the year an order for 25 new 212s had been placed to modernise the fleet. In 2012, a refurbishment programme began with the first batch of eight 212s undergoing an upgrade and 52 of the type remain in service today. The RTAF also operated a pair of 212s as part of its Royal Flight, these being replaced in 1982 by two Bell 412s, then in 1991 two 412SPS and finally by 412EPS in 2003. Altogether the RTAF has operated 13 Bell 412s of all versions, mostly as VIP transports, eight remaining in service today. The Royal Thai Navy also operates the Bell 212, fitted with antisubmarine warfare equipment and capable of operating from the navy’s frigates, although these have begun to be replaced by the 412 with five 212s and four 412s being listed as in service today. The Royal Thai Navy was also one of the operators of the Bell 214ST, six being purchased beginning in 1985 as VIP transports. The Royal Thai Police also operate the Bell 412 and have done since the first were delivered in 1999, with nine aircraft, two 412HPS and seven 412EPS in service today.
The first Hueys in service with the Tunisian Air Force were two UH-1HS and two UH-1NS received in 1975. These were followed by 18 Agusta Bell AB 205As in 1980, given the serials L81701 to L81718. All of the Hueys were operated by 31 and 32 Squadrons, the fleet being bolstered with further batches of aircraft so that today 11 UH-1HS and 20 AB 205As and Bell 205As are in service. The air
force has also begun to acquire the Bell 412, three of which are in service today.
The Turkish armed forces have one of the largest fleets of Hueys in the world today, the first UH-1HS being delivered to the Turkish Air Force in 1968. The fleet expanded with various batches of UH-1HS and Agusta Bell AB 205As until most recently the entire fleet was refurbished and upgraded to a common standard by Turkish Aircraft Industries (TAI), 63 UH-1HS serving as utility transports today. The Turkish Army’s first Hueys were 18 Agusta Bell AB 204Bs which entered service in 1966 as utility transports and gunships. The force was expanded with the transfer of 22 exUS Army UH-1BS in 1971 and 1977. The first long bodied Hueys for the Turkish Army were a pair of Agusta Bell AB 205s delivered in March 1968. In 1970 the Turkish Army began to order large numbers of UH-1HS, 58 being delivered between 1970 and 1974 with 15 more arriving in 1982. A further 60 UH-1HS were assembled in Turkey in four batches of 15 between 1984 and 1992. As well as these, 24 AB 205As were delivered between 1975 and 1978, with a further 42 between 1983 and 1985. Today, 69 205As and 86 UH-1HS form the majority of the Turkish Army helicopter fleet, 52 of the UH-1HS and 23 of the AB 205s having undergone the TAI upgrade programme beginning in 2003. A well as the army, the Turkish forces also include the Jandarma, similar to the Gendarmerie, an armed military police force. The Jandarma also operates the AB 205A, 20 having been received in 1975 and four more in 1983. The Turkish Army also received two Agusta Bell 212s delivered in 1984 as VIP transports, but in 2002 they were transferred to the Turkish Navy. The navy also operates its own Hueys, the first being three Agusta Bell AB 204AS antisubmarine platforms delivered in 1972. The success of the first ASW Hueys meant that in 1977 the advanced AB 212ASW began to enter service, 17 being supplied and 13 remaining in service today.
The Ugandan Air Force received two Bell 212s in 1971 and three Agusta Bell AB 2105A- 1s in 1973, the latter being used as transports until 1997. In 1985, three Bell 412SPS were purchased, followed by six AB 412 Grifones in 1988. These helicopters were used until 1998, after which they were refurbished and sold.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The United Arab Emirates Air Force has operated a range of Huey variants, beginning with a single Bell 205A-1 and two Agusta Bell AB 205A-1s during the 1970s, along with the rare Bell 214B utility transport, four of which were purchased in the 1980s. In 1989, six AB 412HPS were purchased, followed by two 412EPS leased for two years in 2006, three of the 412HPS remaining in service today in the search and rescue role.
The use of the single engined Hueys was covered earlier, the first twin engined types being received by the Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya were two Bell 212s received in 1980, followed by two more in 2005. These helicopters have been deployed abroad, two taking part in the UN mission to Ethiopia between 2003 and 2008.
Again, the single engined Huey variants used by Venezuela have been covered earlier. The Fuerza Aérea Venezolana also operated the Bell 214ST stretched transport, three being used between 1982 and 2005. The twin engined variants first arrived in 1972 with the delivery of two Bell 212s, followed by a third in 1998. Two Bell 412s were also acquired in 1981 and served with the air force until 2001, one of which is preserved at the Libertador Airbase. Two of the 212s were transferred to the Navy in 2001 to be used for spares. The spares were to support the Navy’s Agusta Bell AB 212ASWS, nine of which had been purchased in 1990 and three remain in service today. In 1999 the Venezuelan Navy purchased its first batch of four Bell 412EPS. These were followed by three more in 2003 and one in 2008. One was lost in an accident in March 2003, the other seven still flying with the Navy today. The Aviación del Ejército Venezolano purchased two Bell 412SPS in 1988, these being followed by 10 412EPS between 1997 and 1999, 11 of these helicopters remain in service today.
A large number of UH-1DS and Hs had been supplied to the South Vietnamese Air Force and Army during the Vietnam War. The closing stages of the war saw many of these airframes captured by the advancing North Vietnamese forces. The establishment of the Vietnam People’s Air Force (VPAF) after the war collected these captured helicopters into the new organisation and the sufficiency of intact airframes and spares means that some 15 UH-1HS are still in service today.
The Yemeni Air Force has received two Agusta Bell AB 204Bs and AB 205s, as well as five AB 212s and six of the heavy lift AB 214 variant, two of which were configured as VIP transports. These were delivered between 1969 and 1980, five of the AB 212s still being listed as in service, the status of the others is difficult to ascertain. In December 2010 a contract was announced by Bell to provide four Huey IIS, the greatly modernised and upgraded version of the UH-1H, which were delivered in 2011.
The Zambian Air Force first operated five Agusta Bell 205s delivered in 1969, which were followed by two AB 212s in 1972. Eight AB 205As were acquired in 1980 along with three AB 205A-1s, a total of 14 of these helicopters remaining in service today.
In 1978, 11 AB 205As were purchased covertly for what was then the Rhodesian Air Force, the aircraft being locally armed and armoured for the troop transport role with 7 and 8 Squadrons. Five of these aircraft were lost, one in combat and four in accidents, and a further two were transferred to the Royal Air Force of Oman, the rest being retired and sold in 1990. In 1983, the first of 12 AB 412SPS arrived to equip 8 Squadron. Of the 12 helicopters, 10 were troop and assault transports, the remaining two being configured for VIPS. Six are still in service today.
Three Austrian Air Force Agusta Bell AB 212s.
One of the three Agusta Bell AB 205A-1s of the Albanian Air Force.
Two of the Argentine Army UH-1HS seen on the Falkland Islands after the end of the fighting in 1982.
A Bell UH-1H during the Exhibition of the Argentine Army in May 2008.
A Bell CH-146 Griffon utility transport of the Canadian Armed Forces.
An Air Force Brigade of Bosnia Herzegovina Bell UH-1H at Sarajevo Airbase in June 2007.
One of the RAAF 9 Squadron UH-1HS converted to a gunship, known as Bushrangers.
A Bahrain Air Force Agusta Bell AB 212 Twin Huey in flight over the Persian Gulf during a training mission in 1991.
A Fuerza Aérea Boliviana Bell UH-1H in flight during the joint Bolivia/u.s. Exercise ‘Fuerzas Unidas’ on May 1, 1987.
The search and rescue version of the Bell CH-146 Griffon in the striking markings of the Canadian Armed Forces.
A Bell 205A-1 of the Hellenic Air Force in search and rescue markings.
A Bell 212 of the Columbian Air Force.
One of the UH-1DS built by Dornier for the German Army.
A Bell 412EP of the Chilean Air Force.
A Bell 412SP of the Ghana Air Force.
One of the UH-1HS operated by the Georgian Air Force.
US Army soldiers board UH-1J helicopters of the Japan Ground Self-defense Force during Exercise Orient Shield 2011 at Kita-fuji Training Area, Japan.
One of the 11 Agusta Bell AB 212ASW antisubmarine warfare helicopters acquired by the Hellenic Navy.
Iranian journalists jump from an Iran Army Aviation Bell 214A during the IranIraq War in the 1980s.
A US Army AH-64D Apache attack helicopter escorts an Iraqi Army Aviation Command Huey II during a joint mission.
One of the 22 Bell AB 412s of the Italian Guardia di Finanza.
One of the Lebanese Army’s UH-1HS modified with three pylons to carry bombs, a rare role for a Huey.
One of the three Royal Netherlands Air Force search and rescue Agusta Bell AB 412SPS.
A Royal Norwegian Air Force Bell 412HP.