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Inside the Archive: Bell Iroquois

While it’s true that RAAF operated Dragonflys and Sycamores in the 1950s, it was only when Australia obtained the Iroquois that it obtained true rotor power. The iconic Bell UH-1B was a coming-of-age moment for military helicopters. It could quickly transport five fully armed troops or equivalent cargo and sported an M60 machine gun for protection.

However, some background is needed: the original prototype Bell XH-40 entered service with the US Army in 1959 as the UH-1, but was better known as “Huey”. RAAF’s No. 9 Squadron received its first in 1962, and the aircraft and its variants served until 1985. While its military service is perhaps what it’s most famous for – particularly stints in Vietnam – it was arguably most effective for search and rescue. RAN, too, operated seven concurrently with RAAF. With the loss of RAAF’s rotor capability, the final 25 Iroquois were transferred to the Army’s No. 171 Squadron and Aviation School at Oakey and No. 5 Aviation Regiment at Townsville.

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Comment (1)

  • David McKeand

    says:

    Many fond memories from an old Flight Fitter B (Elec). Canberra 9 Squadron, Williamtown Search and Rescue and Malaysia Butterworth 9 Squadron Detachment A, during 1962/64.

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Inside the Archive: Bell Iroquois

written by Staff reporter | March 26, 2021

While it’s true that RAAF operated Dragonflys and Sycamores in the 1950s, it was only when Australia obtained the Iroquois that it obtained true rotor power. The iconic Bell UH-1B was a coming-of-age moment for military helicopters. It could quickly transport five fully armed troops or equivalent cargo and sported an M60 machine gun for protection.

However, some background is needed: the original prototype Bell XH-40 entered service with the US Army in 1959 as the UH-1, but was better known as “Huey”. RAAF’s No. 9 Squadron received its first in 1962, and the aircraft and its variants served until 1985. While its military service is perhaps what it’s most famous for – particularly stints in Vietnam – it was arguably most effective for search and rescue. RAN, too, operated seven concurrently with RAAF. With the loss of RAAF’s rotor capability, the final 25 Iroquois were transferred to the Army’s No. 171 Squadron and Aviation School at Oakey and No. 5 Aviation Regiment at Townsville.

This content is available exclusively to Australian Aviation members.
Subscribe to Australian Aviation for unlimited access to exclusive content and past magazines.

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checkbulletAccess to In Focus reports via our Australian Aviation app
checkbulletAccess to our Behind the Lens photo galleries and other exclusive content
checkbulletDaily news updates via our email bulletin
 

PRINT

$49.95
FOR 1 YEAR
subscribe
checkbulletAustralian Aviation quarterly print & digital magazines
checkbulletAccess to In Focus reports via our Australian Aviation app

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PRINT + DIGITAL

$99.95
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checkbulletAustralian Aviation quarterly print & digital magazines
checkbulletAccess to In Focus reports via our Australian Aviation app
checkbulletAccess to our Behind the Lens photo galleries and other exclusive content
checkbulletDaily news updates via our email bulletin
 

DIGITAL

$59.95
FOR 1 YEAR
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checkbulletAustralian Aviation quarterly digital magazines
checkbulletAccess to In Focus reports via our app
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Comment (1)

  • David McKeand

    says:

    Many fond memories from an old Flight Fitter B (Elec). Canberra 9 Squadron, Williamtown Search and Rescue and Malaysia Butterworth 9 Squadron Detachment A, during 1962/64.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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