The Lebanese military resorted to the "Huey bomber" idea
after a failed attempt to restore Hawker Hunter jets to flying status.
In May, 2007, fighting erupted between Lebanese troops and Fatah al-Islam militants barricaded inside Naher Al Bared, a populous Palestinian refugee camp. The siege dragged on for three months, killing 130 people and wounding more than 1,500.
By August, the terrorist group had been isolated into a small area of the camp measuring 250m long by 200m wide, a Lebanese officer identified only as Lt Col Yassine told the Dubai International Air Chiefs conference.
At that time,
Lacking proper bomb-dropping aircraft, Lebanese officers hatched a plan to modify the Huey with a bomb release system. The modifications fitted a mix of bombs, ranging from 50kg to 400kg. The air force also calculated the precise envelope required to hit targets within a minimum range for accuracy.
The release envelope for the UH-1 bomber release was extremely tight. The pilot had to fly at precisely 90kts forward air speed and above 500m (1,500ft), Yassine said. Even a slight deviation from the speed and altitude parameters could throw off accuracy by several meters, he added.
In one month, Lebanese UH-1s performed 98 bombing sorties against the Fatah al-Islam haven inside the camp. The bombing opened up paths through the rubble of the camp for Lebanese infantry and armoured units to advance, Yassine said. By 2 September, fighting inside the camp had ceased, as the last remnants of Fatah al-Islam had been killed or surrendered.