After more than 50 years in service, variants of the UH-1 multipurpose helicopter were becoming obsolete, compared to other US Army helicopters. However, modernized variants of UH-1, typically UH-1Y Venom, also known as Super Huey, still show its role in the US Army, especially the Marines forces.

Born in the 1960s, popularly used during the Vietnam War, the UH-1 is considered the most successful US helicopter. Currently it is still considered the most popular helicopter line in the world with nearly 80 countries and territories in use. An estimated 16,000 units have been produced in many variants, making them the most produced helicopter in the world.

The UH-1 operates stably, capable of taking off and landing in complex terrains, even on rough or swampy terrain, something that Mi-8 helicopters, its rivals cannot do. The super-fast landing capability of just a few minutes of this helicopter makes them a favorite vehicle for airborne forces.

UH-1Y Venom review

After more than 50 years in service, variants of the UH-1 multipurpose helicopter were becoming obsolete, compared to other US Army helicopters. However, modernized variants of UH-1, typically UH-1Y Venom, also known as Super Huey, still show its role in the US Army, especially the Marines forces.

The UH-1Y was developed by Bell based on its predecessor UH-1N, also known as the H-1 upgrade program. The UH-1N variant was commissioned by the US Army in the 1970s and operated until its retirement in August 2014. The UH-1Y Venom medium-sized utility helicopter variant was first introduced in 2008 and was officially commissioned by the US Marine Corps in 2009. It operated primarily on two key US military battlefields at the time, Iraq and Afghanistan.

UH-1Y Venom
UH-1Y Venom

The design of the UH-1Y Venom is almost identical to the previous versions, with the ability to carry more than 3 tons of cargo or 10 marines, with a crew of 3 to 4 people, including pilots, Crew chief and other crew members depending on the mission.

The helicopter is controlled by up to two pilots sitting side by side behind the short nose cap. The cockpit is fitted with a large windshield and windows on the sides, giving the pilot a good view. The crew gets in and out through two car-style doors on either side of the cockpit. The UH-1Y features a digital cockpit with flat-panel multifunctional displays, and an 84% parts commonality with the AH-1Z.

UH-1Y Venom

The passenger compartment is right behind the cockpit, arranged with two large sliding doors. Compared to the previous version, UH-1Y Venom has many changes such as 4-blade rotors instead of 2 blades as before, in addition it also has a new engine and advanced electronic system. The twin-engine mounted on the roof, the tail is arranged a four-blade propeller along with the horizontal plane. The landing gear is a simple skid configuration that saves design and maintenance costs. Compared to the UH-1N, the Y-model has an increased payload, almost 50% greater range, a reduction in vibration, and higher cruising speed.

UH-1Y Venom
UH-1Y Venom

The chin of the aircraft is fitted with an optical kit, while the fuselage supports two external hard points for rocket or gun pods. Machine guns can also be mounted on the doors of the passenger compartment.

Super Huey is powered by 2 General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines developing to 1,828 hp. It has the large suppression covers installed at each engine’s exhaust port. Venom can reach a top speed of nearly 300 km/h, it has a mission endurance of more than three hours and can reach a service ceiling of up to 6,100m while rate of climb of up to 12.8 meters per minute. The combat radius is 241km, which is quite suitable for short flight missions.

UH-1Y Venom
UH-1Y Venom

The weapon systems on the UH-1Y include the Hydra 70 air-to-ground rocket launcher or APKWS II Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System on both sides of the hull. There are also two M134 Minigun Gatling guns or 7.62mm M2 Browning machine guns, making it easy for the helicopter to perform fire support tasks for infantry.

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On January 16, 2019, the Marine Corps said it received the last UH-1Y Venom multi-role utility helicopter. This helicopter was staffed for Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 at Pendleton Base, California. Especially, 11 years ago, Bell Helicopter handed over the first UH-1Y at the same base, but to Squadron 303.

UH-1Y Venom
UH-1Y Venom

The operating cost of a UH-1Y is also considered to be quite low compared to other advanced utility helicopters currently in the world. It is also relatively compact in size, suitable for the old-class amphibious ships. This will make it possible for countries with tight budgets to use this type of helicopter. The US Marine Corps owns about 160 UH-1Ys and is expected to serve in 10 years.Most recently, in December 2019, the Czech Ministry of Defense announced plans to buy 12 UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters from Bell Helicopter. Specifically, the Prague government plans to spend about $623 million to buy 8 UH-1Y Venom and 4 AH-1Z Viper, including training support, spare parts and maintenance. These new helicopters will replace the Mi-24 and Mi-35 helicopters that have been in service since the Soviet era.

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