Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. is being awarded a contract modification to exercise an option for systems engineering and program management services in support of Lots 12, 13, and 14 H-1 aircraft.
The modification, worth around $15 million, was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) located in Patuxent River, Maryland. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds for the amount will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The contract work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in December 2018.
H-1 upgrade program is the United States Marine Corps’s (USMC) program to develop the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom military helicopters to replace its aging fleets of AH-1W SuperCobras and UH-1N Twin Hueys.
The contract was awarded in 1996 to Bell Helicopter, the original manufacturer of both aircraft, to design the new airframes as modernized attack and utility helicopters with considerable design commonality, to reduce operating costs.
Bell AH-1Z Viper
Bell AH-1Z Viper is an American twin-engine attack helicopter, based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, that was developed for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) as part of the H-1 upgrade program.
The AH-1Z features a four-blade, bearingless, composite main rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system.
The four-blade configuration provides improvements in flight characteristics including increased flight envelope, maximum speed, vertical rate of climb, payload and reduced rotor vibration level.
The AH-1Z, one of the latest members of the prolific Huey family, is also called “Zulu Cobra”, based on the military phonetic alphabet pronunciation of its variant letter.
Bell UH-1Y Venom
Bell UH-1Y Venom (also called Super Huey) is a twin-engine, medium-sized utility helicopter, built by Bell Helicopter under the H-1 upgrade program of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC).
One of the latest members of the numerous Huey family, the UH-1Y is also called “Yankee”, based on the NATO phonetic alphabet pronunciation of its variant letter.
The UH-1Y variant modernizes the UH-1 design. Its most noticeable upgrade over previous variants is a four-blade, all-composite rotor system designed to withstand up to 23 mm rounds. A 21-inch (530 mm) fuselage extension just forward of the main door has been added for more capacity.
The UH-1Y features upgraded engines and transmissions, a digital cockpit with flat panel multifunctional displays, and an 84% parts commonality with the AH-1Z. Compared to the UH-1N, the Y-model has an increased payload, almost 50% greater range, a reduction in vibration, and higher cruise speed.
The UH-1Y was to have been remanufactured from UH-1Ns, but in 2005, it was approved for the aircraft to be built as new.
After entering service in 2008, the UH-1Y is currently in full-rate production to replace the USMC’s aging fleet of UH-1N Twin Hueylight utility helicopters, first introduced in the early 1970s.