Bell UH–1Y Venom

Product Type:

Utility Helicopter

Using Service (US):

Air Force (USAF) and Marine Corps (USMC)

Program Status:

In Full Rate Production (FRP)

Prime Contractor:

Bell Helicopter (Textron)

The U.S. Marine Corps' UH-1Y Venom

About the UH-1Y:

The Bell UH-1Y Venom is a twin engine, medium class utility helicopter. It is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines with 1,546 shp each.

Notable equipment on the UH-1Y are the FLIR Systems AN/AAQ-22 BRITE Star (EO/IR) fire control system, the Thales TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight and Display System, the AN/ARC-210 Digital Communication System, and the Raytheon AN/APX-100 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) transponder.

The primary navigation system is the CN-1689(V)2/ASN Embedded GPS/INS supported by the AN/ARN-153(V) TACAN System and DF-301E VHF/UHF Direction Finder.

Aircraft countermeasures include the BAE Systems AN/ALE-47 Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System, the AN/AVR-2A Laser Warning System, the AN/APR-39A Radar Warning Receiver, and AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System.

DoD Upgrade Program:

The H–1 Helicopter Upgrade program converts AH–1W Super Cobra and UH–1N Huey helicopters to the AH-1Z Viper and UH–1Y Venom, respectively. The upgraded helicopters will have increased maneuverability, speed, and payload capability. The upgrades include a new four-bladed rotor system, new transmissions, a new four-bladed tail rotor and drive system + upgraded landing gear. Also, this program provides for UH-1Y and AH-1Z new-build rotorcraft.

The UH-1Y is the most significant upgrade ever made to the combat-proven UH-1 helicopter. At the core of the upgrade is a new four-bladed, all-composite and ballistically tolerant (up to 23mm) rotor system, upgraded engines and transmissions, integrated digital cockpit featuring multifunction flat panels, increased payload capabilities, crash-worthy seating for all crew and passengers, and 84% identical parts with the AH-1Z Viper. The upgraded helicopters also provide increased load carrying ability, greater range and survivability, smaller logistical footprint and easier maintenance for the Marine Corps.

The DoD procurement strategy is to remanufacture 10 UH-1N Huey helicopters into UH-1Ys and build 150 new UH-1Y Venom.


The UH-1Y Venom is equipped with two M240D 7.62mm machine guns and carries 2.75" (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets. For more details, see specifications below.

Price/Unit Cost:

The unit cost of a new build UH-1Y Venom is $25.42 million (flyaway cost in FY 2014). The cost of the airframe is $20.19 million, the avionics package costs $2.81 million and the engines (x2) cost $755,905 each.

Total Cost - Life of Program (LoP):

The total procurement cost of the H-1 Upgrades program is $11.47 billion (estimated by the DoD) + $1.54 billion in research and development (RDT&E) funds, which means the total estimated program cost is $13.01 billion (numbers are aggregated annual funds spent over the life of the program and no price/inflation adjustment was made). This figure excludes military construction (MILCON) costs in support of the program in the amount of $17.6 million.


The UH-1Y utility helicopter provides command & control and assault support under day/night and adverse weather conditions.

FY 2014 UH-1 DoD Program:

Provides funds in the amount of $331.6M for the purchase of 11 UH-1Y Venom new build aircraft.

FY 2015 UH-1 DoD Program:

Provides funds in the amount of $440.2M for the purchase of 15 new build UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. The budget also funds development efforts to support follow-on improvements to sensors and weapons integration, avionics and air vehicle components that will address deficiencies, systems safety, obsolescence, reliability, and cost growth issues.

For more information, click to view the FY 2015 DoD AH-1Z/UH-1Y Budget.

Sources Used: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Bell Helicopter, General Electric,
and FLIR Systems.

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2015 Budget

Last Update: October 23, 2014.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (

External Resources:

Bell Helicopter: UH-1Y Venom

FLIR Systems: AN/AAQ-22 BRITE Star

YouTube: Bell UH-1Y Venom | YouTube

Fact Sheet: Bell UH-1Y Venom Brochure

Total AH-1Z/UH-1Y Program Cost:

  $13.01 billion  ($11.47B procurement + $1.54B RDT&E)

AH-1Z/UH-1Y Procurement Objective:

  353 aircraft  (349 production and 4 development)

UH-1 U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the UH-1Y Venom in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
DoD Purchases of UH-1Y Venom Helicopters in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12/13 + Budget for FYs 2014 + 2015

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the UH-1Y Venom

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Purchases of H-1 Helicopters (NAVY) UH-1 Aircraft Modifications (NAVY)
Aircraft Spares and Parts (NAVY) UH-1 Aircraft Modifications (USAF)

Aircraft Specifications: UH–1Y Venom

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Primary Function: Command & control and assault support
under day/night and adverse weather conditions
Prime Contractor: Bell Helicopter Textron
Power Plant: 2x General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines with 1,546 shp (each engine)
Length: Fuselage: 44 ft (13.41 m); w/rotating rotor: 58 ft (17.68 m)
Height: 17 ft (5.18 m)
Rotor Diameter: 48 ft 10 in (14.88 m)
Weight (Empty): 11,839 lbs (5,370 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 18,500 lbs (8,390 kg)
Payload: Max: 3,220 lbs (1,460 kg)
Capacity: 10 combat-equipped troops
Fuel Capacity: Internal: 2,584 lbs (1,172 kg)
Speed: Cruise: 146 kts/168 mph (270 km/h); Max: 170 kts/196 mph (315 km/h)
Rate of Climb: 2,520 ft/min (12.8 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,096 m); Max operational altitude is 10,000 ft (3,048 m)
Combat Radius: 130 nm/150 miles (241 km) with 2,182 lbs (990 kg) payload
Crew: Four (pilot, co-pilot, crew chief, gunner)
First Flight: December 20, 2001
Price/Unit Cost: $25.42 million flyaway cost (in FY 2014)
Deployed: August 2008

Armament/Weapons: 2x M240D 7.62 mm machine guns;
2x LAU-61 19-tube Rocket Pods for 2.75" (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets;
or 2x LAU-68 7-tube Rocket Pods for 2.75" (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets.

FLIR Systems AN/AAQ-22D BRITE Star (EO/IR) gimbaled fire control system
Thales TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight and Display System
Northrop Grumman AN/APR-39B(V)2 Radar Warning Receiver
Alliant Techsystems AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System
Goodrich AN/AVR-2A Laser Warning System
Raytheon AN/APX-100 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF)
BAE Systems AN/ALE-47 Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System
Rockwell Collins AN/ARC-210 Digital Communication System
CN-1689(V)2/ASN Embedded GPS/INS
Rockwell Collins AN/ARN-153(V) TACAN System
DF-301E VHF/UHF Direction Finder

Defense Program

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