Kit #AA2086. 1/72 scale. This is
a highly-detailed resin kit of the Boeing-Vertol
YUH-61 prototype for the UTTAS
utility helicopter competition, complete with decals.
In 1965, the US Army, seeking a
replacement for the Bell UH-1 Huey
utility helicopter, launched the Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS)
program. The initial specification called for an aircraft able to carry a crew
of three, along with eleven combat troops or a slung load of 3.5 tons and a
cruising speed of roughly 175mph. After seven years of concept development, in
1972, the Department of Defense turned to industry for design proposals, which
were required to use two G.E. turbo-shaft engines and wheeled landing gear. Helicopter manufacturers Bell, Boeing-Vertol
and Sikorsky submitted proposals, with Boeing-Vertol’s model 179/ YUH-61 and
Sikorsky’s model S-70/YUH-60 being selected for prototype development.
The first of three Boeing-Vertol
YUH-61s made its maiden flight in 1974. It was Boeing-Vertol's first design built
with a single main rotor – a revolutionary hingeless rotor design based around
the semi-rigid composite blade pioneered in the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo-105. This rotor allowed the UH-60 to perform aerobatic maneuvers
not possible by conventional helicopters.
The UH-60 was designed to be crashworthy and ballistically-tolerant,
making it resistant to ground fire and able to fly while damaged.
All the three YHU-61A prototypes
were delivered to the Army in 1976, while Boeing produced a fourth airframe,
the COP (Company Owned Plane), which was painted white, with two blue stripes.
It was intended for use as a demonstrator for potential civilian and foreign
military contracts. Following the UTTAS competitive evaluation, the Sikorsky
S-70 was declared the winner. This decision
also cost Boeing-Vertol a shot at the US Navy’s LAMPS-III shipboard helicopter –
that contract went to the Sikorsky UH-60B Seahawk, while the S-70 became the
HH-60 Black Hawk. Two of the three Army
prototypes are preserved at the US Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker.