Single-engined, multipurpose, utility helicopter.
The ubiquitous Bell UH-1 "Huey" is one of the most familiar shapes in the sky. The large two-bladed rotor system produces a distinctive slap sound that is unmistakable. The H-Model, or "Slick", is the most widely-produced variant of the UH-1. The need for a 4-person crew and the capability to deliver an 8-10 man payload into the field, prompted Bell to stretch their original 204 (UH-1C/D) design. Next to the Russian Mi-8, the UH-1 has the longest production run of any helicopter, having been built in the U.S., Germany, Japan, Italy, and Taiwan. In many air arms, the UH-1 and Mi-8 serve side-by-side.
The Huey has seen combat with U.S. forces in every engagement since and including Vietnam. Additionally, the Huey has fought in the Falkland Islands conflict, Africa bush wars, Israeli-Arab conflicts, The Balkans, Georgia/South Ossetia, and the South American conflicts of the 1970's and 1980's. UH-1D's were some of the first helicopters to be armed and spawned the AH-1 series of dedicated attack helicopters.
Though a tremendous gas-guzzler (1gal. of fuel per minute), the UH-1 is simple, easy to maintain, and affordable to operate when compared to it's successor, the UH-60. The inclusion of skids over wheels hasn't kept the UH-1 out of naval service, where skids may make the Huey difficult to handle on a crowded deck. The U.S. Marine Corps has been a loyal Huey operator up to the present, with Bell in developing the next generation UH-1Y "Yankee". The recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have not taken placed without the Huey. Private contrators and the U.S. Department of State operate Hueys in support of local operations in those theaters.
A Huey driver once told the author, when discussing the Huey, "The Huey bird will be like the C-47. Even long after the Blackhawk has arrived, every Army hangar will have one Huey around."
The Huey can carry a wide array of weapons, typified by the U.S. Army's Helicopter Armament Subsystem. A big part of the UH-1H's design premise was to operate with a normal payload and crew plus two door-gunners armed with M60 or .50 calibre machine guns. Additional armament includes pylon-mounted miniguns, 57mm unguided rockets and 40mm. grenade launchers.
A Huey with a minigun is still a very formidable weapon, despite the platform's age.