The H-1 mixed fleet of AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom attack and utility helicopters has surpassed the 400,000 joint flight-hour milestone.
Designed by Bell Flight as the dedicated military helicopters for the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the H-1 helicopters have been deployed around the globe across a wide variety of military operations since 2010.
“Reaching the 400,000 hour milestone represents the collective efforts of the men and women dedicated to upholding the H-1’s legacy of success,” said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 Vice President and Program Director.
The AH-1Z Viper’s attack ability combines dedicated weapons against ground, maritime, or aviation targets with great standoff range. The UH-1Y Venom’s design as a versatile utility platform can perform any function on the battlefield from resupply, troop inserts, close air support, etc.
The H-1 aircraft platforms possess 85% commonality of major systems and parts, enabling the USMC to quickly share critical components and reduce the logistical footprint and training required to operate the aircraft in austere environments.
The USMC program of record is for 349 H-1 aircraft split between the UH-1Y Venom and the AH-1Z Viper. Full rate production for the UH-1Y started in 2009, and all 160 aircraft were delivered by April 2018. Production of the 189 AH-1Z Vipers will complete with the final delivery to the USMC in 2022.
The Marine Corps will operate H-1s through the 2040s, with Bell supporting operations with continuous upgrades to maintain reliability, survivability and lethality on an evolving battlefield.
The aircraft modernization program includes Link-16 integration as part of planned improvements designed to ensure the H-1 platform maintains its technological edge and combat capability throughout its service life.
“Reaching this milestone is a culmination of thousands of hours of work by pilots, maintainers, engineers, test teams, and industry partners. It is a true team effort,” said Col Vasilios Pappas, Program Manager PMA-276.
“The H-1s have defended warfighters for six decades, and with the integration of new capabilities, H-1s will continue to support warfighters for decades to come.”
The helicopters are designed for sea and land-based operations and marinized from manufacture. The benefits of the marinized environmentally hardened design for the H-1 extend to protection from the elements, enabling reliability and availability across diverse environments, including desert, maritime, snow and tropical conditions.