Vietnam. 1968-03. Starboard view of No. 9 Squadron RAAF Iroquois helicopter gunship, UH-1B A2-1025, commonly known as “Ned Kelly. This aircraft was the first RAAF helicopter to be fitted with a trial armament system which was fitted to each side of the helicopter. The armament system included an XM 157 airborne rocket pod containing seven 2.75 inch Folding Fin Aircraft Rockets, twin side mounted M60 C machine guns which were capable of firing 6000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and twin door-mounted M60 machine guns which fired 400 rounds of ammunition. Standing next to the new armament system are members from the project team. Left to right: Sergeant E. E. Moore; Flight Lieutenant R.C. Thompson; Squadron Leader J. H. Cox, pilot; Leading Aircraftman E. G. Maxwell, armament fitter, (kneeling in the helicopter doorway). Source: AWM
Rod Cairns: This airframe (right) is A2-1025, nicknamed “Ned Kelly”. It was used for conceptual trials only, with the larger and more powerful UH-1H model eventually filling the Gunship role. Of particular interest is the additional FM Whip antenna attached to the skid. This formed part of a Command & Control (C&C) suite which mounted additional radios in a cabin console for use by an airborne force commander. A2-1022 was similarly wired up to carry this bolt on/off role equipment and both aircraft have been shown in various photos to have an additional VHF/UHF Shark’s Fin mounted under the Tailboom (although not in this pic…). Selected ADF UH-1Hs also had this wiring installed.
The 9SQN SVN Bravos had a T53L-11 engine rated at 1100SHP and a MTOW of only 8500lb. The Hotels had the T53L-13B rated at 1400SHP and a higher MTOW of 9500lb (authorised to 10,500lb in the gunship role) which allowed much more expendable ordnance to be carried.
Although the US Military did use the Bravo in a gunship role, the UH-1C was eventually developed as the primary Huey Gunship variant. It also had the L-11 engine as well as the 540 Rotor Head with wider chord Main Rotor blades, a dual hydraulic system (among other enhancements) and a MTOW of 9500lbs. When fitted with the L-13B in later years, it was designated a UH-1M.