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Bell UH-1 Iroquois Helicopter (Huey)

The Bell UH-1 Huey has been the most important military utility helicopter from its introduction in the 1950s into the 21st century. The Hueys were used for MedEvac, command and control, air assault, transport of personnel, supplies and equipment, and as gun ships. More than 16,000 UH-1s (in a sequence of models) were produced through 1976. Hueys continue in use by the U.S. military and in over 45 countries.

A UH-1 Iroquois Huey helicopter about to land at a 3rd Marine Division fire support base construction site, Vietnam, June 1968
A UH-1 Iroquois Huey helicopter about to land at a 3rd Marine Division fire support base construction site, Vietnam, June 1968.

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23 Aug 1944 Following overthrow of dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu, Romania repudiates the Axis and joins the fight against Germany, cooperating with the Soviet Union.
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Bell UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) Helicopter

The UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) Helicopter was first delivered to the Army in 1959, as the UH-1A, the first military turbine engine helicopter. In Vietnam, where the first Hueys arrived in 1962, it was the primary MedEvac helicopter as well as the primary air assault helicopter platform, making the air-mobility concept a reality. By the end of the Vietnam conflict in 1975, more than 5,000 UH-1 Iroquois helicopters had been introduced into Southeast Asia. 2,500 Hueys were lost in Vietnam, about equally due to combat and operational accidents.

One of the basic design specifications for the UH-1 was the requirement by the Aviation Section of the Surgeon General's Office for the Army's utility helicopter to carry at least four litter cases; hence the Huey had a maximum width of 98 1/2 inches to accommodate stretchers sideways.

The name Huey came from its original U.S. Army designation as the HU-1, changed to Utility Helicopter UH-1 in 1962 when it became a tri-service procurement. The UH-1 Huey was utilized by all the U.S. service branches for decades. It was partially replaced in the U.S. Army by the UH-60 Blackhawk, but continues in Army service as a utility craft. In the mid-2000s, the USMC still employs the UH-1N and UH-1Y models.

Characteristics of the UH-1A Iroquois are:

UH-1AUH-1BUH-1CUH-1D
Rotor diameter43' 9"44'44'48' 3"
Length52' 10"52'11"53'57' 1"
Basic weight4,020 lbs.4,600 lbs.4,830 lbs.4,900 lbs.
Payload2,175 lbs.2,704 lbs.4,500 lbs.3,116 lbs.
External cargo3,000 lbs.4,000 lbs.4,000 lbs.4,000 lbs.
Crew22-42-42-4
Passengers66611
Cruise airspeed80k90k100k100k
Maximum airspeed120k120k140k120k
EngineLycoming T53-L-5L-9L-11L-11
Armament40-mm. grenade launcher, 7.62-mm. machine gun, 2.75" rockets, M22 guided missile40-min grenade launcher, 2.75" rockets, minigun7.62mm door-mounted machine guns

Engine designations relate to the horsepower: L-5 has 500 shp, L-11 has 1100 shp, etc.

This table gives the monthly production numbers for the UH-1 helicopter, 1965-1970:

Month 1965 1960 1967 1968 1969 1970
Jan 57 74 150 85 73 100
Feb 58 81 150 82 82 100
Mar 58 87 155 80 89 94
Apr 60 93 152 85 100 74
May 63 99 150 80 100 73
Jun 66 100 143 66 44 74
Jul 68 102 139 65 100 71
Aug 67 114 120 65 101 67
Sep 70 109 110 65 101 67
Oct 71 125 106 65 101 64
Nov 74 133 98 65 101 66
Dec 75 142 85 53 101 67

Other Models of the UH-1 Iroquois (Huey)

There are other models of the UH-1 Iroquois, introduced to extend the service life and fill special requirements.

  • The UH-1H replaced the UH-1D in 1967, with a more powerful L-13 engine -- more UH-1Hs were built than any other model
  • UH-1N (See photo caption below)
  • UH-1H units were modified with litter racks and avionics upgrades to create the MedEvac UH-1V (1980s) -- capacity was six stretchers and one medical attendant
  • A small number of UH-1C units were fitted with the Lycoming T53-L-13B 1400 shp engine -- with this modification they were designated UH-1M
  • A few model UH-1F Hueys were modified for a classified psychological warfare role, changing model to UH-1P (1969)
  • UH-1Y "Venom" is an upgraded UH-1N utilized by the USMC, with greater payload, speed, range and survivability than the UH-1N

Thanks to William Kellogg of Aircraft Valuation for help with this page.

XH-40, prototype for the UH-1 helicopter
XH-40, prototype for the UH-1 helicopter.

US Army UH-1A Iroquois Huey Helicopter
US Army UH-1A Iroquois Huey Helicopter.

US Army UH-1B Iroquois Huey Helicopter, first delivered to the Army in 1961
US Army UH-1B Iroquois Huey Helicopter, first delivered to the Army in 1961.

US Army UH-1D Iroquois Huey Helicopter, first delivered to the Army in 1963
US Army UH-1D Iroquois Huey Helicopter, first delivered to the Army in 1963.

Other UH-1 Photos

UH-1D Huey in flight
US Army UH-1D Iroquois Huey Helicopter, in flight.

US Army UH-1H Iroquois Huey Helicopter
US Army UH-1H Iroquois Huey Helicopter.

USAF UH-1N Huey. The N model is almost the same as the civilian Bell 212 with small differences in the electrical system. The N and the 212 are both powered with two Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engines called a TwinPac. Each of these engines have between 900 and 1000 hp.  UH-1N was the primary Huey used by 1st Special Operations Wing
USAF UH-1N Huey. The N model is almost the same as the civilian Bell 212 with small differences in the electrical system. The N and the 212 are both powered with two Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engines called a "TwinPac". Each of these engines have between 900 and 1000 hp. UH-1N was the primary Huey used by 1st Special Operations Wing.

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