Attrition: Huey Retires After 50 Years

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October 13, 2009: The U.S. Army has retired its last UH-1 ("Iroquois", or "Huey") helicopter. Over 16,000 UH-1s were built, and over 4,000 were lost during the Vietnam war. Over two thousand UH-1s are still in service. The 4.3 ton UH-1 could carry two crew and eleven troops, and was the first military helicopter to use gas turbine (jet) engines. This allowed a lighter helicopter to carry more weight. The UH-1 served the army for fifty years, although since the 1990s, most served in reserve units.

Most of the UH-1s were replaced by the UH-60 in the 1980s. This 10.6 ton helicopter could carry more weight, and was safer to operate. Recently, the 3.6 ton UH-145 was introduced, and this replaces the remaining UH-1s in army service. The U.S. Marine Corps still uses an upgraded UH-1.

The UH-1 was actually a military version of a civilian helicopter (Bell 204) design. Both remained in production through the 1980s, with over 12,000  204/205s being produced.

 


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