Military

US Marines retire the Bell AH-1W "Super Cobra" attack helicopter

US Marines retire the Bell AH-...
The Bell AH-1W Super Cobra
The Bell AH-1W Super Cobra
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The Bell AH-1W Super Cobra
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The Bell AH-1W Super Cobra

After 34 years of service, during which it clocked up 933,614 flight hours, the United States Marine Corps is retiring its fleet of 179 Bell AH-1W “Super Cobra” attack helicopters, though some have been converted to their successor, the AH-1Z Viper.

Originally designated the AH-1T+, the AH-1W Super Cobra is the last Cold-War variant of the Super Cobra family that first entered service in 1971. The AH-1W was developed in the 1980s and entered service in 1986 as the most powerful of the twin-blade, twin-engined Super Cobras, with an improved fire control system that allowed it to carry not only a 20 mm M197 three-barreled Gatling cannon, but also the Mk 49, Zuni, and Hydra 70 rockets, as well as Aim-9 Sidewinder missiles.

The Super Cobra carries a crew of two and can reach a maximum speed of 175 mph (282 km/h). Its range is 358 miles (576 km) and it has a service ceiling of 10,500 ft (3,200 m). Maximum takeoff weight is 10,000 lb (4,536 kg).

Though developed during the Cold War, the AH-1W continued to be manufactured until 1999 and saw service in the Gulf War, Afghanistan, the Iraq War, Somalia, Haiti, and the Balkans.

According to Bell, remanufactured AH-1Ws will continue service with the Marines as the AH-1Z Viper, which has four main rotor blades instead of two and has fully integrated air-to-air and anti-armor capabilities, including hard points for the AGM-114 Hellfire quad missile launcher and Longbow radar.

"The AH-1W Super Cobra has served admirably and leaves a remarkable legacy of on-time, on-target attack helicopter support for our Marines," says Colonel David Walsh, the program manager for Light/Attack Helicopter Programs (PMA-276). "Although the AH-1W chapter is closing, the AH-1Z Viper supports our Marines for years to come."

The video below shows the final service flight of the AH-1W Super Cobra.

AH-1W Sundown

Source: Bell

2 comments
Nelson Hyde Chick
It would be nice if we could mothball all our implements of war, but sadly they will be used more and more as humanity grows and resources become more and more scarce.
PrometheusGoneWild.com
Helicopters are obsolete.
With the advent of light, high density Li-on batteries, you can take a fixed wing aircraft and make it VTOL.
Like an Osprey, but with about 60% less parts....