UH-1 MAJOR WEAPONS SYSTEMS AND MOUNTS
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.
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.
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.