Marines Pass the Huey Torch

UH-1N chopper retires; UH-1Y its successor

A Marine Corps helicopter known as one of the Vietnam Era's most iconic aircraft is officially history.

The Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 (HMLA-469 ) and Marine Light Attack Training Squadron 303 (HMLA-T 303) honored the UH-1N Huey in a farewell ceremony at MCAS Camp Pendleton Friday afternoon.

The old "November" model huey is being replaced by the next generation,  UH-1Y "Yankee" aircraft, which flies faster, lifts more and uses more powerful weapons.

The Yankee is also equipped with advanced computer operating systems that mimic video-gaming system controls and displays.

Crews with HMLA-469 were the first to use the new UH-1Y during combat operations in Afghanistan last year. Pilots say the chopper performed exceptionally well in the hot dusty climate in Helmand Province.

It's increased speed and improved communications systems meant teams could complete more ambitious close air support missions with its leaner, more lethal cousin, the Super Cobra attack helicopter. 

While the UH-1N, first used in 1969, had trouble keeping up with the Cobra in the past, that's not the case for the Yankee model, at least for now.

HMLAT-303 is the first squadron to train with the lighting fast new AH-1Z "Zulu" SuperCobras.  Camp Pendleton Marines are expected to take Zulus on their first combat deployment later this year.

The New Huey and New Super Cobra are made by Bell Helicopters. More than 80 percent of the parts on the aircraft are interchangeable.

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