Whirlybirds for the Iraqis

Donated helicopters headed to U.S. for upgrades

Just noticed this, a two-week old story about 16 Hueys donated to Iraq by Jordan:

The work will elevate the UH-1H helicopters to Huey II configurations, which will provide a more suitable helicopter for meeting battlefield mobility requirements.

Personnel with the Coalition Air Force Transition Team of the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq have been working closely with ARINC Engineering Systems on the modifications. The work will be done by U.S. Helicopter in Alabama and is expected to take eight to nine months per helicopter. Preparations for transporting the helicopters to the U.S. will take place over the next two to three months in Iraq and Jordan.

The story notes that the upgrades will extend the service life of each by 20 years. Does anyone believe that any of these helicopters is going to last even half that long? Between the inexperienced crews, the harsh operating conditions, and the virtually-unlimited supply of rocket propelled grenades, the new Iraqi air force is going to go through a lot of helicopters and air crews. Still, this donation by Jordan is great news and I’m glad to see it.

I still think the Iraqis could use a light counter-insurgency prop plane along the lines of the Super Tacano COIN aircraft noted earlier.


  1. Huey II’s eh? Ain’t that interesting that they are getting these $2 mil mods before getting the aircraft. Meanwhile, our NG and Reserves are getting the LUH some day.

  2. I saw a video on the Pentagon channel that noted how they were able to deliver the last 12 of the 16 Jordanian donated in only 2 C-17s due to some imaginative loading. Tight fit.