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The UH-1Y model was developed in conjunction with the new AH-1Z Super/Cobra to maximize cost savings and minimize required maintenance parts (the manufacturer claims an 85% part commonality between the two models). The Y model updates an airframe that has been central to the Marine Corps aviation in Iraq. This plane has many mission requirements including command and control (C2), escort, reconnaissance, troop transport, medical evacuation and close air support. Typically detachments of 2-4 these aircraft have been deployed with detachments of 4-8 Cobras. The forward mounted weaponry of the Cobracombined with the door guns of this aircraft provides a 240° field of fire.
Over the years new avionics and radios in addition to modern door guns and safety upgrades have made the UH-1N too heavy for its own powertrain. With a maximum speed of approximately 100kts and an inability to lift much more than its own crew, fuel and ammunition this aircraft, while useful, is limited in its utility. The Y model upgrades pilot avionics to a glass cockpit, adds further safety modifications, and provides this aircraft with a modern FLIR system. However, the biggest improvements are in regard to power. By replacing the engines and the two bladed rotor system with four composite blades the Y model will return this aircraft to the utility role it was designed for. According to the manufacturer the Y model will have 125% higher payload than the UH-1N, and almost 50% more range and maximum cruise speed than the UH-1N. Tactically this means this aircraft can keep up with the other helicopters it is supposed to be escorting rather than slowing them down and making them easier targets. This aircraft will be able to pull the power needed to move aggressively and, if necessary, evasively. Strategically this means commanders riding in this aircraft will have all the radios and fire power they need and the range of the transport helicopters carrying their men. (Wikipedia)