TH-1H Iroquois (Huey)
The TH-1H was one of the newest of more than 15 variants of the original UH-1 Huey first flown in 1956. The TH-1H, the a version of the UH-1H Huey, underwent an extensive refurbishment that included upgraded components and a new avionics suite with a glass cockpit. Whereas the old helicopters were equipped with traditional round dial gauges for altitude, speed, etc., the glass cockpit takes the same information and displays the information digitally on a single monitor. Four of the original round dial gauges, however, remain in case there is a total failure of the new system.
The TH-1H's advanced electronics provide expanded training opportunities and improved operational capabilities by upgrading the engine, transmission and rotor system. It has the latest multi-function displays allowing for future upgrades and providing new aircrews with a seamless transition from the T-6 to a follow-on rotary wing aircraft such as the CV-22, Combat Search and Rescue-X and Common Vertical Lift Support Platform helicopters.
The TH-1H is a Bell UH-1H helicopter with an integrated upgrade kit, or Huey II kit, which encompasses a more powerful engine, and new dynamic components including nose and tailboom. The cockpit and mission equipment upgrades include a change from analog to digital cockpit, the addition of crashworthy seats, and total rewiring. These modifications literally transform a legacy aircraft into a state-of-the-art training platform compatible with future operational aircraft. This undergraduate training platform develops multiple pilot skills and transitions those skills faster across multiple aircraft.
On 25 January 2006. US Helicopter, a division of Bell Aerospace Services Inc., and a subsidiary of Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announced a contract award from Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems for nine TH-1H training helicopters. These aircraft would be used to support the US Air Force undergraduate rotorcraft-training program located at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
By 2009 the Air Force was scheduled to have 24 TH-1H's in the inventory, which would sustain Air Force helicopter pilot training until 2025. The Air Force rolled out the TH-1H helicopter at the home of Pilot Instructor Training and Headquarters Air Education and Training Command on 5 November 2005 in conjunction with the base's 75th Anniversary and 2005 Air Show.
The first TH-1H underwent testing and evaluation in 2007. The Air Force received the first production aircraft in April 2007 with small group tryouts to follow. Small group tryouts allow the instructors to develop and analyze the curriculum that would be used to train helicopter pilots on the new aircraft. This was the first step to providing the platform and syllabus for the new students with the first class scheduled in the summer of 2007.
Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems was the prime contractor under the USAF Flexible Acquisition and Sustainment Program or FAST program and was responsible for systems integration and program management. US Helicopter would perform the aircraft refurbishment, modification and flight test at its Ozark, Alabama, facility.
Bell Aerospace Services would provide turnkey aviation maintenance and support services throughout the world. In June 2005, BellAero acquired US Helicopter, which was widely regarded as the premier maintenance and modification center for UH-1 helicopters in the world. Over the previous fifteen years, US Helicopter refurbished over four hundred UH-1 helicopters and installed over one hundred Huey II upgrade kits. BellAero was a subsidiary of Bell Helicopter, a Textron company.
Textron Inc. was at the time a $10 billion multi-industry company with 44,000 employees in 40 countries. The company leveraged its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron was known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, EZ-GO and Greenlee, among others.
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