This helicopter is a composite of several H-1s. The crew cab is a former UH-1M trainer shell and carried the s/n 66-683. The remaining components, parts and pieces came from salvaged Hueys.
The UH-1M version of the Bell Model 204 was converted from US Army UH-1Cs for use in Vietnam. These were fitted with a 1,400 shaft horsepower (1,044 kW) Lycoming T53-l-13 turboshaft. They also had launch rails installed for six air-to-ground AGM-22A missiles (US license–built French AS-11 wire-guided missiles). Some of the UH-1Ms had the Iroquois Night Fighter and Night Tracker (INFANT) system developed by Hughes Aircraft that used low light level television and searchlights to help aim the side-mounted XM-21 weapons system consisting of two XM-158 seven-tube rocket launchers and two M-134 six-barrel miniguns. Vietnam UH-1M survivors went on to serve with US Army National Guard Units.
The Bell Model 204/UH-1C version introduced a main rotor blade with greater chord (width) than the earlier UH-1A/B versions, giving the helicopter a greater increase in maneuverability and some increase in speed. The cord of the vertical fin was widened and given a greater incline. Larger elevators were installed. The UH-1C also had greater fuel capacity than the earlier versions. Deliveries began in September 1965 with 749 UH-1Cs built.
As the Bell Model 205 versions of the Huey arrived in Vietnam, the role of the smaller UH-1Bs, UH-1Cs and UH-1Ms became that of gunships. To compare the size difference between the Bell Models 204 and 205, compare the crew cabin of this helicopter with the UH-1H in the museum’s collection.
As Army gunships, the UH-1B, C, and M were assigned to assault helicopter companies and carried a wide range of offensive and defensive armament, depending on the assigned mission. The armament consisted of various combinations of fixed and flexible .30 caliber, .50 caliber, 7.62mm machine guns (both single and multiple barrel); 20mm cannon, 40mm grenade launchers, 2.75 inch (70mm) unguided, folding fin aircraft rockets (FFARs); and TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) or AGM-22A antitank missiles. UH-1Bs comprised the largest number of Huey gunships flown during the Vietnam War.
US Navy helicopter attack squadrons (light) flew a mix of loaned Army UH-1B, C, and M gunships in the Mekong Delta, often adapting their own weapons loads for the Hueys. The Marine Corps flew a UH-1E gunship, patterned after the Army’s UH-1B/C, and the US Air Force 20th Special Operations Squadron flew the UH-1F, UH-1P, and twin engine UH-1N versions as gunships in Vietnam.
The only front line services of Huey gunships in the first decade of the 21st century are UH-1Ns and UH-1Ys flown by the US Marine Corps.
Combat Air Museum acquired the crew cab (UH-1M) of this composite Huey through Federal Surplus Property in March 1990. Over the next two years, the remaining major components and parts were acquired from donors and Federal Surplus Property. The two XM-200 rocket launchers for 2.75-inch (70mm) FFARs were donated in 2006. When restored, the Huey will be representative of a US Army gunship of the Vietnam War.
In July 2000, representatives of the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) visited Combat Air Museum to review and document US Army aircraft, vehicles and other artifacts held by the museum. The visit was also the initial step for CAM to get certification from TACOM for the loan of future aircraft and artifacts. As a result of that visit, both UH-1 Iroquois and the CH-54A Tarhe in our collection were placed under TACOM control