The success of deployment of the UH-1B helicopter encouraged the US Army and the Bell company to further develop the design. When a new engine, the Lycoming T53-L-11 became available, it allowed to increase the capability of the new helicopter version, the UH-1C as a weapons platform, it could also allow to increase the cargo capability of the utility version. To do that, the Bell company designed Model 205 – with a fuselage stretched 1041mm relative to Model 204. The diameter of the main rotor was also increased to improve the performance of the type. Externally, the new helicopter was easy to distinguish from the older versions, mainly because of the two-part cargo door on each side of the cabin. Rear, sliding part of that door now had two smaller windows, as opposed to a single large window of Model 204. The front part of the cargo door opened towards front of the helicopter using vertical hinge. Also the stance of the helicopter on the ground changed – Model 204 pointed it’s node down, while the nose of Model 205 pointed up while on the ground.
The contract to build prototypes was signed in June 1960, first flight was conducted on the 16th of August 1961. The new helicopter type, designated UH-1D, was officially accepted by the US Army on 31st of May, 1963, and on the same day the serial production started. The UH-1D was capable of carrying 12 soldiers equipped for three days of patrolling in addition to its crew of four. The fuel tanks with 833 liters capacity, allowed for a range of 511 km.
UH-1D was meant to take over the majority of US Army’s air transport duties. That allowed the older helicopters, of types UH-1B and UH-1C to be utilized for attack and landing zone security missions. 2859 helicopters of Model 205 were built, the majority of which were purchased by the US-Army.
The exhibited diorama on the photos above, shows a landing of a transport helicopter under conditions typical of the Vietnam War – that is, it had to be assumed, that the landing zone (LZ) is under enemy fire. In such a situation, the top priority was to minimize the time the helicopter spent on the LZ, making a prime target for the enemy. A well trained and motivated group of soldiers would be able to get off the helicopter before it actually touched down. The objective of the helicopter’s machine gunners was covering the landing troops and protecting the helicopter against fire from the ground by suppressing the enemy.
The helicopter shown is painted in the single color, low visibility scheme – with matt olive green paint, designated X34087, according to a new standard FS595a, introduced specifically because of that color. All standard inscriptions and designations are matt black. However, the overall low visibility of the helicopter was causing problems, when the helicopter was to be spotted by friendly units – hence the presence of colorful markings and painting certain portions of the helicopter in bright colors. Under frontline conditions nonstandard personal and unit markings were also widely tolerated – it’s a phenomenon known as “nose art”. The model on display shows a helicopter belonging to the “Wasp Platoon” of the 116th Assault Helicopter Company. This unit stationed in Vietnam from the end of 1965 to the end of 1971 in the I CTZ – I Corps Tactical Zone, which means the northernmost portion of South Vietnam.
|Length (fuselage):||17 620 mm|
|Height:||4 410 mm|
|Rotor diameter:||14 630 mm|
|Empty weight:||2 363 kg|
|Maximum weight:||4 309 kg|
|Propulsion:||One 820 kW Lycoming T53-L-11 turboshaft engine|
|Armament:||Two M60 7,62mm machine guns on flexible mounts in cargo bay doors|
|Max speed:||204 km/h|
|Crew:||3/4 people (aircraft commander, second pilot, crew chief and optionally a machine gunner)|