AH-1W Super Cobra
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: AH-1 Tzefa, AH-1E, AH-1F, AH-1G HueyCobra, AH-1J Sea Cobra, AH-1P, AH-1Q, AH-1RO Dracula, AH-1S, AH-1S(MC), AH-1S(MOD), AH-1T, AH-1T+, AH-1W Whiskey Cobra and Bell 209
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: AH-1 Cobra
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1966
Maiden Flight: 7 September 1965
Total Production: 2,000
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Description: Bell AH-1 Cobra, originally called the Bell 209, is a two bladed main rotor attack helicopter derived from the UH-1 light utility helicopter. AH-1G HueyCobra was the original model developed for the US Army and employed during the Vietnam war. The primary mission for this aircraft was to escort UH-1 troops transports. AH-1G was powered by a single T53 turboshaft engine and approximately 1,100 aircraft were delivered beginning in 1966. In 1973 Bell introduced the AH-1Q anti-armor variant capable of firing TOW missiles.
Due to AH-1Q operational shortfalls the US Army developed a further version named the AH-1S which included several variants such as the AH-1S(MOD) or AH-1S(MC). In the late 1980s the US Army renamed these AH-1S variants as the AH-1E, AH-1F, AH-1P and AH-1S. These variants feature different origins and equipment as well as performance. Currently, AH-1F is the most valuable AH-1 aircraft operated by the US Army. US Army's AH-1 are equipped with eight TOW missiles, rockets and a nose-mounted 20mm gun.
In parallel to the US Army AH-1 development, the US Marine Corps (USMC) ordered the AH-1J Sea Cobra in the late 1960s. AH-1J, which was more suitable for naval operations than AH-1G, was powered by two T400 turboshaft engines. Iran ordered 202 AH-1Js. AH-1T was an improved variant of AH-1J powered by T400-WV-402 engines and introduced in 1974. In the 1980s Bell developed an improved variant of AH-1T powered by two T700-GE-401 engines called the AH-1T. Subsequently this model was renamed as the AH-1W Super Cobra or Whiskey Cobra.
AH-1W Super Cobra can be equipped with eight Hellfire anti-tank missiles, rockets, two AIM-9L air-to-air missiles, two AIM-122 Sidearm anti-radiation missiles and a nose-mounted 20mm gun. The USMC deployed its AH-1Ws to Iraq during the Gulf War (1990-91) and operation Iraqi Freedom (2003). It is by far the most sophisticated model of AH-1 helicopter family excluding four bladed AH-1Z King Cobra which can be deemed as a brand new aircraft. AH-1W was proposed to Romania as the AH-1RO Dracula with a production license agreement. AH-1RO future is uncertain.
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