The Bell UH-1 Iroquois (nicknamed "Huey") is a utility military helicopter powered by a single turboshaft engine, with two-blade main and tail rotors.
Bell UH-1D Huey
Design and development
The UH-1 has a metal fuselage of semi-monocoque construction with tubular landing skids and two rotor blades on the main rotor. Early UH-1 models featured a single Lycoming T53 turboshaft engine in versions with power ratings from 700 shp (522 kW) to 1,400 shp (1,040 kW). Later UH-1 and related models would feature twin engines and four-blade rotors.
All aircraft in the UH-1 family have similar construction. The UH-1H is the most-produced version, and is representative of all types. The main structure consists of two longitudinal main beams that run under the passenger cabin to the nose and back to the tail boom attachment point. The main beams are separated by transverse bulkheads and provide the supporting structure for the cabin, landing gear, under-floor fuel tanks, transmission, engine and tail boom. The main beams are joined at the lift beam, a short aluminum girder structure that is attached to the transmission via a lift link on the top and the cargo hook on the bottom and is located at the aircraft's center of gravity. The lift beams were changed to steel later in the UH-1H's life, due to cracking on high-time airframes. The semi-monocoque tail boom attaches to the fuselage with four bolts.
The UH-1H's dynamic components include the engine, transmission, rotor mast, main rotor blades, tail rotor driveshaft, and the 42-degree and 90-degree gearboxes. The transmission is of a planetary type and reduces the engine's output to 324 rpm at the main rotor. The two-bladed, semi-rigid rotor design, with pre-coned and underslung blades, is a development of early Bell model designs, such as the Bell 47 with which it shares common design features, including a dampened stabilizer bar. The two-bladed system reduces storage space required for the aircraft, but at a cost of higher vibration levels. The two-bladed design is also responsible for the characteristic 'Huey thump' when the aircraft is in flight, which is particularly evident during descent and in turning flight. The tail rotor is driven from the main transmission, via the two directional gearboxes which provide a tail rotor speed approximately six times that of the main rotor to increase tail rotor effectiveness
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In October 1965, the USAF 20th Helicopter Squadron was formed at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in South Vietnam, equipped initially with CH-3C helicopters. By June 1967 the UH-1F and UH-1P were also added to the unit's inventory, and by the end of the year the entire unit had shifted from Tan Son Nhut to Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, with the CH-3s transferring to the 21st Helicopter Squadron. On 1 August 1968, the unit was redesignated the 20th Special Operations Squadron. The main role of these helicopters were to insert and extract reconnaissance teams, provide cover for such operations, conduct psychological warfare, and other support roles for covert operations especially in Laos and Cambodia during the so-called Secret War.
Bell UH-1D Iroquis
UH-1s also flew "hunter-killer" teams with observation helicopters, namely the Bell OH-58A Kiowa and the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse (Loach). Towards the end of the conflict, the UH-1 was tested with TOW missiles, and two UH-1B helicopters equipped with the XM26 Armament Subsystem were deployed to help counter the 1972 Easter Invasion. USAF Lieutenant James P. Fleming piloted a UH-1F on a 26 November 1968 mission that earned him the Medal of Honor.
Role Utility helicopter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter
First flight 20 October 1956 (XH-40)
Status In service
Primary users United States Army (historical)
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Australian Army (historical)
See Operators section for others
Bell UH-1D Iroquois (nicknamed "Huey")
The Iroquois was originally designated HU-1, hence the Huey nickname, which has remained in common use, despite the official redesignation to UH-1 in 1962. The Bell 204 and 205 are Iroquois versions developed for the civil market.