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Bell® AH-1(W) SuperCobra® – USMC Attack Helicopter

  • $483.00
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About the Bell® AH-1(W) SuperCobra® – USMC Attack Helicopter:

Based on the ubiquitous UH-1 Huey multi-purpose helicopter, the Bell AH-1 Cobra® was the world's first dedicated attack helicopter. The AH-1 line is a tandem seat rotorcraft that first saw service in 1968 during the Vietnam War. The landscape of Vietnam became the training ground for American helicopter strategy. The use of helicopters in warfare had been previously limited to scout and medical roles. By Vietnam, that role had expanded. The initial AH-1G variant was very effective against unarmored targets, light vehicles, and enemy encampments. The early Cobra helicopters carried impressive payloads on their stub wings and were also fitted with nose turrets capable of mounting machine guns or grenade launchers. Vietnam cemented the need and use for attack helicopters in modern warfare.

While the Army has moved on from the Cobra line of attack helicopters, the Marines have not. The Marine Corps have kept the Cobra and variants of the UH-1 in their arsenal since Vietnam, and that does not appear to be changing. The Marines first flew the AH-1W SuperCobra® in 1986–just in time for operations in the Middle East. During the first war against Saddam Hussein—Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, 1990-1991–AH-1W helicopters flew over 1,200 sorties. They were credited with victories against 97 tanks, 104 armored personnel carriers and other vehicles, as well as other manned battlements. That success overflowed into the War on Terror that has endured throughout the Twenty-First Century.

The Whiskey model is a lethal piece of modern warfare. The helicopter can achieve speeds of 147 knots (169mph) and distances of 256 nautical miles (294 miles) thanks to its twin General Electric T700-GE-401 engines. Part of the Marine’s fascination with the Cobra line is redundancy. The rotor craft can fly on one engine if the other is damaged, they also maintain some parts compatibility with the UH-1N Huey and the newer UH-1Y Venom transport helicopters. For attack—because that is the most interesting aspect—the helicopter has a nose mounted 20mm turreted cannon with 750 rounds of available ammo, four external hard points on its stub wings that can carry any combination of 2.75” or 5” rockets, precision guided missiles such as TOW or Hellfire for air-to-ground, Sidewinder missiles for air-to-air, and Sidearm for air-to-radar. The Marine’s view the AH-1W SuperCobra as a day/night marginal weather attack helicopter. Its mission includes escort for air-assault forces, anti-armor and material missions, support for ground forces, and fire support for landing forces during amphibious assault operations. A pilot and gunner makeup the crew of the SuperCobra while teams of ground crew are needed to maintain the craft. The Whiskey model is currently phasing out of American military operations for the newer Zulu model, but many are still used around the world by the militaries of Japan, Israel, and Turkey.