Bell 214ST - Iraqi
The Bell 214ST is a medium transport helicopter descended from the Bell UH-1 Iroquois (“Huey”).
Function: Transport Helicopter
Introduction Date: 1982
Delivery Date: 1984
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter: Textron (Division of Textron, Inc.); Fort Worth, TX
Overall Length: 62 ft, 2 ¼ in
Fuselage length: 50 ft
Rotor Diameter: 52 ft
Height: 15 ft, 10 ½ in
Max cruising speed: 138 kts (159 mph)
Ceiling: 12,600 ft
Range: 550 nm (633 mi)
Powerplant: 2 × General Electric CT7-2A turboshaft engines
Crew: 2 – pilot, co-pilot
After the success of the Huey, Bell made several variants of it for commercial and foreign military use. This model is an expanded version of the Bell 214A. In fact, it was the largest helicopter produced by Bell. It features an extended and strengthened fuselage and more powerful dual engines, allowing it to lift more. It also introduced several innovations to the rotor system and transmission, and has the option of being equipped with either skid or wheeled landing gear. The Bell 214ST could also be equipped with specialized gear for various missions.
The 214ST was specifically designed for use by the Iranian Army. After the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979, though, Bell had to abandon these plans. Instead, they focused more on its commercial development and marketed it to other countries. Deliveries were made to Iraq, Brunei, Peru, Thailand, and Venezuela.
This particular 214ST had been purchased by the Iraqi government sometime in the 1980s and was in the service of the Iraqi military at the time of Desert Storm. On the morning of February 27, 1991, elements of the First Marine Division entered and began clearing Kuwait International Airport. In the midst of burned out aircraft hulks and vandalized buildings stood a pristine Bell 214ST helicopter in Iraqi markings. Marines of the First Division immediately laid claim to this “war prize,” and arranged to have it shipped back to the US. The aircraft was given to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW), then based at MCAS El Toro, as a token of appreciation for their outstanding support during Desert Storm. This Bell 214ST had 750 hours on the airframe when it was captured and is currently valued at over $2.5 million. The aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the Marine Corps.