Delivery of the AH-1Z Viper will continue until 2022
The Bell UH-1Y is a combat-proven utility helicopter slated to support the USMC global missions for the next four decades. The Yankee engages threats, delivers or exfiltrate personnel and performs under the most punishing operating conditions, making it the ultimate tactical utility helicopter. The Bell UH-1Y was first deployed with the USMC in 2009. The “Yankee” operates in the most extreme environments, from Arctic cold to desert heat.
Delivery of the AH-1Z Viper will continue until 2022.
The Venom and the Viper are based on the Vietnam-era family of Huey helicopters, the UH-1 Iroquois and the derivative AH-1 Cobra. The modern variants share 85 percent of their parts including a common tail boom, engines, rotor system, drivetrain, avionics architecture, software and controls.
“This allows us to reduce our ownership costs and it reduces our footprint on board ships,” said David Walsh, programme manager for the UH-1. “Anytime you are on board a maritime ship space is at a premium.”
The H-1 programme is also focused on improving the existing fleet of Bell AH-1Z Vipers and UH-1Y Venoms with upgraded electronic warfare systems, Link 16, an increase in available electrical power and structural improvements to help the helicopters carry more external weapons, said Walsh. New weapons for the helicopters will include JAGM and AIM-9X Sidewinder.
And, according Walsh, the programme is adding upgraded navigation systems such as ADS-B, EGI and M-Code GPS. Bell is also looking into but hasn’t started adding the ability to control unmanned aerial systems from the helicopters.
Photo credit: Bell