Further exports of its remaining 420 Bell UH-1 Hueys have been halted while the US Army comes to grips with a requirement for a new Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), according to service officials and documents.
The army plans to retain control of 380 UH-1s that are to be retired, even though service officials previously described an LUH requirement for 330 aircraft, says an army memorandum issued last week. "The army will not provide any additional helicopters for the foreseeable future," it says.
Besides the 380 retained by the army, the remaining 40 Hueys are being handed over to the US Air Force to serve as training assets. All are expected to be delivered by October after the first formal delivery on 6 May.
UH-1s, rebuilt to the Bell 210 standard, are considered a leading candidate for the pending LUH competition. The Huey replacement programme follows the army's late February decision to cancel the Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Commanche programme and redirect about $14.6 billion to new aircraft programmes, including LUH, 368 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters and at least 25 fixed-wing transports called the Future Combat Aircraft.
The army has another 114 UH-1s dedicated to foreign military sales programmes, says the memo obtained by Flight International. Fort Worth, Texas-based Dyncorp Technical Services, a CSC company, is reactivating UH-1s for foreign customers under a 10-year, $406 million contract won in March.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STEPHEN TRIMBLE IN WASHINGTON DC
BRENDAN SOBIE / SINGAPORE
Source: Flight International