FORT WORTH, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The H-1 mixed fleet of AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom attack and utility helicopters have accumulated more than 400,000 joint-flight hours, according to the maker.
Designed by Bell Textron Inc., with a facility in Amarillo, the company said its dedicated military helicopters for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) have been deployed around the world in 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 and UH-1Y program exemplifies the vital cooperation between industry and program to ensure we maintain an overwhelming competitive edge against future enemies.”
“The USMC program of record is for 349 H-1 aircraft split between the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom, with production continuing through 2022 for the USMC and then beyond that for foreign military partners. ” continued the Company’s statement. The aircraft are expected by the company to be in service of the USMC through the 2040’s.
Plans in place to improve the design and maintain the H-1’s technical edge were mentioned by the company, as part of an aircraft modernization program.
“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 Company described the AH-1Z Viper as having ranged attacking ability, combining weapons dedicated to ground, sea, or air targets. The UH-1Y Venom was described as a “versatile utility platform can perform any function on the battlefield from resupply, troop inserts, close air support, and many others.”
The H-1 aircrafts were also described as being 85% similar in major systems and parts, so the USMC can quickly share components and reduce training time.