Combat Tested: UH-1Y Huey Proves Its Effectiveness

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CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, "Scarface," arrived in Afghanistan seven months ago with one of the Marine Corps' newest aviation platforms, the UH-1Y Huey.

Throughout the deployment, Scarface proved the worth of the new light attack helicopter and put its abilities to use, providing close air support for Marines on the ground.

The Huey has provided close air support for Marine Corps operations for more than 50 years. Now with four blades and more power, the Huey can fly further faster and stay in the air longer to provide support that can mean the difference between life and death for International Security Assistance Force members.

"The [UH-1Y] is more maneuverable than the [UH-1N], because of the four blades and the rotor head system that allows us to be more acrobatic than we were in the [UH-1N], which allows us to get out of certain situations if the threat so dictates," said Capt. Mark D. Mirra, the squadron's flight officer.

One of the most important improvements of the new Huey is the strength.

"The biggest difference between the [UH-1Y] and the [UH-1N] is the power margin," said Sgt. Zachary Lucas, a crew chief with Scarface. "It gives us the ability to carry ground guys with all their gear."

While the UH-1N provided the close air support demanded by the troops on the ground, it could not effectively carry troops, with full combat loads, at the same time.

"In the [UH-1N], to carry troops we would have to strip the helicopter down. Now with the [UH-1Y], we can load it up with ammo, fuel and throw people in there without a problem," said Staff Sgt. Jacob Murphy, a Scarface crew chief.

The Marines with Scarface evolved quickly to their new capabilities of the UH-1Y ultimately leading to better support the mission in Afghanistan throughout the helicopter's first combat deployment.

Capt. Bret W. Morriss, a pilot with Scarface, developed the aerial reaction force, which combines the new Huey's ability to effectively carry troops with the concept of the quick reaction force. A QRF is a rapid response force used commonly as a security force. As an ARF, the squadron can work in conjunction with a ground assault force to peruse and capture insurgents that try to run away by putting Marines on the ground and acting as their close air support.

The squadron has passed on lessons learned during its deployment, including the ARF concept, to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, the "Gunfighters."

As Scarface cased its colors and the Gunfighters took their place as 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)'s light attack aviation unit. They will continue to use the lessons learned and provide aerial support for I Marine Expeditionary Force's ground combat operations.

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A UH-1Y Huey sits on the flight line at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. Crews with Marine Light Attack Squadron 367 flew the Huey on its first combat deployment.

Staff Sgt. Jacob Murphy, a crew chief with Marine Light Attack Squadron 367, "Scarface," speaks with the pilots of the UH-1Y Huey, May 5. In addition to communicating with the pilots, Murphy mans the .50-caliber heavy machine gun on the helicopter.

Staff Sgt. Jacob Murphy, a crew chief with Marine Light Attack Squadron 367, "Scarface," looks out over the Afghanistan countryside during a flight on a UH-1Y Huey, May 5. The crew chiefs must constantly be on the look out and let the pilots know of any obstacles in the area.

A UH-1Y Huey with Marine Light Attack Squadron 367, "Scarface," prepares to land at Forward Operating Base Juno, Afghanistan, May 5. The new Huey has proven its power and maneuverability during its first combat deployment with Scarface.

A UH-1Y Huey with Marine Light Attack Squadron 367, "Scarface," prepares to land at Forward Operating Base Juno in Afghanistan, May 5. The UH-1Y Huey is more powerful than its predecessor the UH-1N Huey.
 
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7point62

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We had another thread on the "Yankee" last year, I think, prior to its deployment. The Marine Corps is probably the most proficient of the US branches at upgrading old reliables like Cobra, 46 and 53 and they've done it again with the Y. Good to see it's working out well.
 

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We had another thread on the "Yankee" last year, I think, prior to its deployment. The Marine Corps is probably the most proficient of the US branches at upgrading old reliables like Cobra, 46 and 53 and they've done it again with the Y. Good to see it's working out well.

I am glad it's working out;but we need to be honest. The UH-1/AH-1 programs both had McCurdy-Nunn breaches, and cost almost double the estimates (85% over run). The whole logic for upgrading the "Huey" fleet was that it was cheaper then buying new Blackhawks.

The best thing about this was integrating various "bolt-ons" but the software integration damn near killed the program.

FWIW- The AF was able to use the program and upgrade it's U/HH-1 Fleet.
 
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7point62

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The UH-1/AH-1 programs both had McCurdy-Nunn breaches, and cost almost double the estimates (85% over run). The whole logic for upgrading the "Huey" fleet was that it was cheaper then buying new Blackhawks.

I didn't know that. Doesn't make much sense, then, does it?
 
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