#DXB09: Lebanon Air Force re-invents UH-1 Huey as bomber


DUBAI — Lebanon‘sair force officials on Saturday revealed making a desperate modification to aBell Helicopter UH-1 Huey to drop bombs amidst a bloody war against abarricaded terrorist haven in 2007.

The Lebanese military resorted to the “Huey bomber” ideaafter a failed attempt to restore Hawker Hunter jets to flying status. Lebanon‘s Hunters have been parked for more than20 years since being crippled during Lebanon‘s long civil war ending in1990.

In May, 2007, fighting erupted between Lebanese troops and Fatahal-Islam militants barricaded inside Naher Al Bared, a populous Palestinianrefugee camp. The siege dragged on for three months, killing 130 people andwounding more than 1,500.

By August, the terrorist group had been isolated into asmall area of the camp measuring 250m long by 200m wide, a Lebanese officeridentified only as Lt Col Yassine told the Dubai International Air Chiefsconference.

At that time, Lebanon‘spost-civil war air force was limited to just four Robinson R-44 helicopter trainers,a handful of UH-1s and Aerospatiale Gazelle helicopters recently donated by theUnited Arab Emirates.

Lacking proper bomb-dropping aircraft, Lebanese officershatched a plan to modify the Huey with a bomb release system. The modificationsfitted a mix of bombs, ranging from 50kg to 400kg. The air force alsocalculated the precise envelope required to hit targets within a minimum rangefor accuracy.

The release envelope for the UH-1 bomber release was extremelytight. 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 altitudeparameters could throw off accuracy by several meters, he added.

In one month, Lebanese UH-1s performed 98 bombingsorties against the Fatah al-Islam haven inside the camp. The bombing opened uppaths through the rubble of the camp for Lebanese infantry and armoured unitsto 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.


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2 Responses to #DXB09: Lebanon Air Force re-invents UH-1 Huey as bomber

  1. Rafael Colindres 14 December, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    The FAS (fuerza Aerea Salvadoreña) used the UH for bombing purpuses in the civil war in El Salvador in the 1980´s

  2. Kevin 29 October, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    I suppose necessity is the mother of invention…

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