The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] Iraq’s formal request for 16 UH-I HUEY helicopters, upgraded to Bell Helicopter’s “Huey II” configuration. In addition to rewiring, new avionics, and airframe checks/improvements, the Huey II adds Honeywell’s T53-L-703 engine, leading to an increase in hover performance of nearly 275% in hot conditions. Maximum gross weight rises to 10,500 lbs, and Bell Helicopter’s Huey II upgrades have dropped direct operating cost by nearly 30%.
The estimated cost is $150 million, and the contractor will be ARINC Corporation in Annapolis, MD.
The request also includes spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, communications equipment, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, Quality Assurance Team support services, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, preparation of aircraft for shipment, and other related elements of logistics support. Implementation of this sale will require the assignment of up to four U.S. Government Quality Assurance representatives to Iraq for three weeks following delivery of the helicopters.
The DSCA has confirmed to DID that the original UH-1H helicopters will come from US stocks. Iraq has had a previous batch of 16 Jordanian UH-1H helicopters upgraded to Huey II configuration; the Jordanians replaced their helicopters with UH-60 Blackhawks, and the Iraqis ave been using the Hueys in utility and MEDEVAC roles. This sale would bring Iraq’s Huey II fleet to 32 helicopters, alongside about 40 serving or ordered Mi-17 medium helicopters, and 4 Bell 206B Jet Ranger scout and light utility helicopters from the UAE.
In a November 2007 Long War Journal article, Maj. Sidoti of the Coalition Air Force Training Team is quoted as saying that the Huey II contracts were canceled:
“There are currently 5 Bell Jet Rangers used for basic helo training. Another 5 are being purchased, timeline TBD [to be determined]. Not at the flight school: All IqAF [Iraqi Air Force] Huey II helicopters will remain at Taji. No additional Huey II orders. There were 32 on tap, but they were canceled due to excessive cost overruns.”
On the other hand, a May 2008 USAF article includes a photo of an IqAF Huey-II in Mosul. This is presumably one of the ex-Jordanian machines.