Snakes and Rotors: The H-1 Helicopter Program

April 18/24: Thales Defense & Security Inc. won a $16 million deal for the repair of three items that are part of the H-1 Optimized Top Owl system. All work will be performed in Valbonne, France, and work is expected to be completed by October 2024. Annual working capital funds (Navy) in the amount of $11,933,292 will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One company was solicited for this sole-source requirement pursuant to the authority set forth in 10 U.S. Code 3204 (a)(1), with one offer received. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity.

 

 

 

 

 

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UH-1Y and AH-1Z by Neville Dawson The US Marines’ helicopter force is aging at all levels, from banana-shaped CH-46 Sea Knight transports that are far older than their pilots, to the 1980s-era UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters that make up the Corps’ helicopter assault force. While the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey program has staggered along for almost 2 decades under accidents, technical delays, and cost issues, replacement of the USMC’s backbone helicopter assets has languished. Given the high-demand scenarios inherent in the current war, other efforts are clearly required. Enter the H-1 program, the USMC’s plan to remanufacture older helicopters into new and improved UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters. The new versions would discard the signature 2-bladed rotors for modern 4-bladed improvements, redo the aircraft’s electronics, and add improved engines and weapons to offer a new level of performance. It seemed simple, but hasn’t quite worked out that way. The H-1 program has encountered its share of delays and issues, but the program survived its review, and continued on into production and deployment. DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article covers the H-1 helicopter programs’ rationales and changes, the upgrades […]

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