Aviation Classics - - AVIATION -

There were a num­ber of field mod­i­fi­ca­tions to arm the UH-1 for its es­cort role in Viet­nam.th­ese were fol­lowed by of­fi­cial de­vel­op­ments, ini­tially given X or ex­per­i­men­tal des­ig­na­tions, of which the most com­mon sys­tems are de­scribed here. There were oth­ers, such as the XM18 which fea­tured pod­ded ver­sions of the M134 mini­guns but th­ese are the most com­mon fits. Note: the 2.75in rock­ets re­ferred to through­out are the Mk.4 or Mk.40 Fold­ing Fin Aerial Rock­ets (FFAR).


XM3/M3 – Ini­tially re­ferred to as Aerial Rocket Ar­tillery (ARA) the con­cept was to pro­vide over­whelm­ing fire­power in the first stages of an as­sault.two 2.75in rocket launch­ers com­pris­ing 24 tubes each were fit­ted on Bell He­li­copter pro­duced mounts on ei­ther side of the rear cabin and linked to a Mk.8 sight in the cock­pit. Th­ese could be fired in pairs or salvoes of up to six pairs a sec­ond.the orig­i­nal XM3 was given longer tubes to im­prove ac­cu­racy to be­come the XM3E1, this model be­com­ing the M3, ini­tially fielded in 1963.The fol­low­ing year the US Army Limited War Lab­o­ra­tory de­vel­oped the Troop Land­ing Smoke Screen (TLSS) based on the M3 but us­ing the rocket tubes to launch M8 smoke grenades to cover he­li­copter as­sault land­ings. Fit­ted to the UH-1B, C and M mod­els.

XM5/M5 – A sin­gle UH-1A, 58-2038, had been re­des­ig­nated as the XH-1A to test a nose mounted tur­ret for an M75 40mm grenade launcher, later des­ig­nated XM5.THE tur­ret was aimed by the copi­lot via a hand con­troller and an elec­tron­i­cally linked sight or in fixed for­ward mode by the pi­lot with a trig­ger on the cyclic. Depend­ing on the other equip­ment fit­ted to the he­li­copter, the sys­tem could be pro­vided with ei­ther 150 or 302 rounds of ammunition with a feed to the nose bay. Fit­ted to the UH-1B, C and M mod­els.

US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum

The M156 uni­ver­sal mounts could carry a range of weaponry. Here fit­ted to an Army Avi­a­tion Test Board UH-1B, the star­board mount are fit­ted with two M60 ‘Flex’ guns and an M200 rocket pod. A Bell UH-1B fit­ted with an early ver­sion of the XM5 nose tur­ret for an M75 40mm grenade launcher.

US Army Avi­a­tion Mu­seum

A Bell UH-1B fit­ted with the 48 3.75in rocket M3 launcher sys­tem re­ferred to as Aerial Rocket Ar­tillery (ARA).

A Bell UH-1B fit­ted with the M3 rocket sys­tem, the pi­lot’s M8 sight is vis­i­ble in the cock­pit.

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