Air Force UH-1F

Built specifically for the Air Force, the UH-1F Huey was based on the short bodied Model 204 and was a continuation of the UH-1B series initially known as the H-48 in the USAF designation system.

UH-1F Engines and Specification

Since the Air Force had an abundance of General Electric T58-GE-3 engines in stock (the same engine used in the HH-3), they directed Bell to build the Huey airframe to accept the General Electric T58 engine. The T58 had to be mounted backwards since its driveshaft ran aft to the transmission necessitating engineering efforts to route intake and exhaust duct work around the engine. The Lycoming exhaust area was faired over and the T58 tailpipe ended up on the starboard side. This distinctive T58-GE arrangement was not as efficient as the Lycoming engine arrangement, but it did use up existing stocks of GE engines. Initial production models featured the early style bell mouth intake. The T58-GE-3 produced 1,325 shp for a max speed of 120 mph and a range of 347 miles. Fuel capacity was 245 gallons and gross weight was 9,000 pounds.

The 48 foot rotor of UH-1F with a 21 inch chord was the same rotor carried on the UH-1D. For rotor clearance the D model tailboom was used, which had a two-bay baggage compartment built into the starboard side below the exhaust. This brought the overall length up to 41 feet 5 inches. The “F” model could carry ten passengers plus the pilot. 119 examples of the UH-1F were built with the first model being flown on 20 February 1964. Deliveries began in September current of the same year with the first aircraft assigned to the 4486th Test Squadron — deliveries were completed during 1967.

UH-1F Role

While purchased for missile site support, the Air Force also used the UH-1F Huey for staff transport, cargo delivery, security, and rescue. A number of UH-1Fs served with the 606th Air Commando squadron in Thailand during the early 1960s. Hueys from this unit were later used to form the 20th Special Operations Squadron (20th SOS) known as the ‘Green Hornets’ which relocated to Vietnam in 1966. 20th SOS UH-1Fs served as transports for highly classified Special Operations Group (SOG) teams which conducted ‘cross-border’ operations.

These Hueys were fitted with armored seats, rope ladders or hoists, and M60 machine guns suspended from cords in the cargo doorways. All 20th SOS Hueys were painted in the ‘Tri-tone’ camouflage scheme peculiar to USAF aircraft during this period. Green Hornet UH-1F Hueys had the later style screened particle separator units retrofitted to the engine intakes. Many of these Hueys were later observed having two UHF/VHF blade type antennas mounted on the cabin roof, one behind the other. When replaced by UH-1Ns, many UH-1Fs were used for range support duties or found their way onto the inventories of fire fighting agencies.

UH-1P Gunships

The UH-1F served the 20th SOS as a ‘slick’ or troop carrier — and when heavily armed, it was designated the UH-1P. Most sources state that the UH-1P was used for ‘psywar’ missions in Southeast Asia because government released versions of 20th SOS activities say so. However, the UH- P was, in fact, a gunship armed with pintle-mounted miniguns and rocket pods on the hard points. Twenty UH-1Fs were converted to UH-1P Gunships with most of them being assigned to the Green Hornets. This model was unique to the 20th SOS, with ‘F’ and ‘P’ designations often being used interchangeably within the unit.

TH-1F Trainer

The UH-1F was built as a follow-on to the Air Force’s UH-1F, and was often used as a trainer, including hoist training. Bell received an Air Force contract for twenty-seven TH-1 Fs in May of 1966. The first example was flown in January of 1967 with deliveries being made from April to July of 1967.