German Armed Forces Retired UH-1D Huey After 53 Years of Service

The Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) has officially retired the Bell UH-1D Huey helicopter from its fleet, after more than 53 years of service. German aircraft manufacturer Dornier built 352 UH-1Ds under license from 1967 to 1981 for the German military (Bundeswehr). These saw service with the German Army and German Air Force as light utility helicopters and as search and rescue (SAR) helicopters. The UH-1D helicopter of Bundeswehr search and rescue service soared above Holzdorf for the last time at a retirement ceremony for the aircraft in the presence of German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, April 12, 2021.

The Bell UH-1 Iroquois (nicknamed “Huey”) is a utility military helicopter powered by a single turboshaft engine, with two-bladed main and tail rotors. The first member of the prolific Huey family, it was developed by Bell Helicopter to meet a 1952 US Army requirement for a medical evacuation and utility helicopter, and first flew in 1956. The UH-1 was the first turbine-powered helicopter produced for the United States military, and more than 16,000 have been built since 1960. The Iroquois was originally designated HU-1, hence the Huey nickname, which has remained in common use, despite the official redesignation to UH-1 in 1962.

German Armed Forces Retired UH-1D Huey After 53 Years of Service (Photo by Peter Straub/Bundeswehr)

The aging UH-1D is succeeded by the H145 LUH SAR (Light Utility Helicopter Search and Rescue).
Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first batch H145 for the German Armed Forces’ (Bundeswehr) search and rescue service to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). A total of seven helicopters of this type were ordered to renew their ageing Bell UH-1D search and rescue fleet. The new helicopter will be stationed at the sites in Niederstetten, Holzdorf and Nörvenich. The last of the H145 LUH SAR helicopters will be delivered early 2021, once training has been completed.

The Airbus Helicopters H145 is a twin-engine light utility helicopter developed and manufactured by Airbus Helicopters. Originally referred to as the BK 117 C2, the H145 is based upon the MBB/Kawasaki BK 117 C1, which became a part of the combined Eurocopter line-up in 1992 with the merger of Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm’s helicopter division of Daimler-Benz and the helicopter division of Aérospatiale-Matra to form Eurocopter. Military variants of the helicopter have also been produced under various designations, such as H145M or UH-72 Lakota, and have been used for training, logistics, medical evacuation, reconnaissance, light attack, and troop-transport operations.

German Armed Forces Retired UH-1D Huey After 53 Years of Service (Photo by Peter Straub/Bundeswehr)