U.S. Marines receives final production-era UH-1Y Venom
Bell Helicopter delivered the final production-era UH-1Y Venom to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC).
The Defense Contract Management Agency has reported on 14 January that the final production-era UH-1Y Venom helicopter was delivered to Marine Aircraft Group 39, Camp Pendleton, California.
When a UH-1Y Venom comes off the production line, it weighs more than 11,800 pounds. During the helicopter’s production phase, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Eric Strong has delivered that weight many times. Most significantly, he played a leading role in the program’s historic bookend deliveries.
With anxiety looming due to unfamiliarity, Strong, a Defense Contract Management Agency Bell Helicopter, or DCMA Bell, government flight representative, delivered the first Venom to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, Camp Pendleton, California, in 2007.
Eleven years later, steeped in platform expertise, Strong, now serving as DCMA Bell’s chief of flight operations, delivered the final Venom to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, Camp Pendleton, California, in 2018.
“This was an incredible opportunity for me that never happens,” said Strong, who was a captain at the time of the first delivery. “I feel very privileged to have been a part of this program that has undoubtedly made a huge impact on Marine Aviation.”
That impact began in the mid-90’s when the Marine Corps launched a plan to upgrade its aging, 1970’s-era UH-1N Twin Huey (utility) and AH-1 Super Cobra (attack) helicopters. The UH-1Y Venom and the AH-1Z Viper were selected to serve as the latest helicopters within Bell Helicopter’s H-1 family. After scrapping initial plans to remanufacture Venoms using Twin Huey airframes, the “new build” production phase began in 2005.
“Early on, the H-1 Upgrades Program shifted focus to fielding the UH-1Y ahead of the AH-1Z,” said Marine Corps Col. Vic Argobright, the DCMA Bell commanding officer. “This was largely due …read more
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