The UH-1Y Venom is a modern version of the UH-1 Iroquois. It is also called Yankee in reference to its variant letter and also as Super Huey. Since its introduction in the late 1950s the original UH-1 has been constantly improved and upgraded. The latest UH-1Y Venom is a result of H-1 helicopter upgrade program for the US Marine Corps. It was launched by the US Government in 1996 for bringing well qualified and combat proven helicopters to modern standards. Upgrades were carried out by Bell helicopter company. The Venom is a rebuilt, redesigned and deeply modified version of the famous UH-1. It is worth noting that Venom was developed alongside the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter under the same program.
The UH-1Y Venom was developed from the previous UH-1N Twin Huey, introduced in the early 1970s. Extremely successful, versatile and reliable airframe of the UH-1 was integrated with modern avionics and new propulsion. It uses a lot of off-the-shelf technology. It has a high degree of commonality with the AH-1Z Viper, which was developed under the same program. Even though these air vehicles serve to totally different missions. Viper is premier attack helicopter while Venom is utility transport chopper. However they share 85% of replaceable components. These helicopters share engines, rotor system, transmission, tail boom, avionics, controls and displays and other components. Such commonality allowed to reduce production, maintenance and overall operational costs.
First helicopters were delivered in 2008 and full-rate production commenced in 2009. US Marine Corps plan to obtain 160 of these helicopters until 2016. Initially it was planned that the UH-1Y helicopters will be remanufactured from the older UH-1N airframes. However later it was announced, that these will be newly-built machines.
In 2009 the first batch of UH-1Y helicopters were deployed in Afghanistan where helicopters performed troops and cargo transport, escort, air support and evacuation missions. In 2015 it was announced that 20 of these helicopters will be delivered to Pakistan.
Despite similarity to previous versions of the UH-1, the Venom is powered by General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines. These have a continuous output of 1 550 shp, but can develop 1 800 shp for 2.5 minutes. This helicopter has composite four blade main rotor. New rotor blades withstand hits from 23 mm cannons. As a result the UH-1Y can gained outstanding performance. Now it can carry 125% more payload is faster and and has 50% longer range comparing with its predecessor.
Digital systems include helmet mounted sights with night vision and infra red vision. Helicopter also has advanced glass cockpit and state-of-the-art digital synchronized avionics. Helicopter has new target system with a modern FLIR. It provides target sighting in day, night and adverse weather conditions.
This helicopter can carry 8 fully equipped soldiers. Its modular construction permits cargo bay to be transformed for other roles, such as MEDEVAC and cargo carrying.
The Venom helicopter can be armed with 12.7 mm or 7.62 mm machine guns, or 7.62 mm Gatling guns installed in the open doors on either side of the fuselage. Also it can carry pods with Hydra 70 unoperated rockets or APKWS laser guided anti-armor missiles. These are used for self-defense to soften-up enemy defenses before landing.
On combat missions USMC typically deploy 2-4 utility helicopters alongside with detachment of 4-8 attack helicopters.