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The AH-1 Super Cobra is a two-place, twin-engine attack helicopter capable of land- or sea-based operations. It provides rotary-wing close air support (CAS), anti-armor/anti-helicopter, armed escort, armed and visual reconnaissance, and supporting arms coordination (SAC) during day/night and adverse weather conditions.
The Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopter has struck fear in the hearts of the enemy for more than 30 years. Armed helicopters came into widespread use in Vietnam in the early Sixties. Limitations of the modified armed utility helicopters used led to the specially configured attack helicopter. Instead, the AH-1F Cobra, with its proven firepower and maneuverability, went on to fight in every major US military operation since Vietnam. The Cobra continues its service with the US Marines, as well as eight other foreign nations
Super Cobra cockpit
Northrop Grumman has developed the integrated avionics systems for the AH-1Z. The systems include two mission computers and an automatic flight control system with four-axis stability control augmentation system. Each crew station has two 8in×6in multifunction displays and one 4.2in×4.2in dual function display, based on active matrix liquid crystal colour technology.
The displays are supplied by L-3 Ruggedised Command and Control Solutions. Thales Avionics' TopOwl helmet-mounted display system was chosen for the USMC AH-1Z.
Weapons and missiles
The Super Cobra can carry both TOW and Hellfire anti-armour missiles and is being qualified to carry the Maverick missile. The Raytheon BGM-71 TOW missile has a range of more than 3km and semi-automatic command-to-line-of-sight guidance. The AGM-114 Hellfire missile is manufactured by Lockheed Martin. It is equipped with a semi-active laser seeker and has a range of 7km. The Super Cobra has fire-and-forget capability when firing the Hellfire missile in co-operative mode with laser target illumination
The Super Cobra was the first attack helicopter to qualify both the Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the Sidearm anti-radiation missile. Both missiles can use the same LAU-7 rail launcher. Sidearm has a range of more than 15km. The Super Cobra can fire the Hydra family of unguided 70mm rockets or the larger 127mm Zuni rocket bombs. The Super Cobra carries a three-barrel, 20mm Gatling gun for close range (up to 2km) engagement and 750 rounds of ammunition. With the gun in a fixed forward position, the pilot can aim by manoeuvring the helicopter
§ Crew: 2: one pilot, one co-pilot/gunner (CPG)
§ Length: 53 ft (16.1 m) (with both rotors turning)
§ Rotor diameter: 44 ft (13.6 m)
§ Height: 13 ft 6 in (4.12 m)
§ Empty weight: 6,600 lb (2,993 kg)
§ Max. takeoff weight: 10,000 lb (4,500 kg)
§ Rotor system: 2 blades on main rotor, 2 blades on tail rotor
§ Fuselage length: 44 ft 7 in (13.6 m)
§ Stub wing span: 10 ft 4 in (3.15 m)
§ Never exceed speed: 170 knots (196 mph, 315 km/h)
§ Maximum speed: 149 knots (172 mph, 277 km/h)
§ Range: 274 nmi (315 mi, 510 km)
§ Service ceiling: 12,200 ft (3,720 m)
§ Rate of climb: 1,620 ft/min (8.2 m/s)