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AH-1W Super Cobra Helicopter

Primary function: Attack helicopter
Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron
Power plant: Two General Electric T700-GE-401 engines
Full: 2082 shaft horsepower for 30 minutes (transmission limited),
Continuous: 1775 shaft horsepower
Length: 58 feet (17.67 meters)
Height: 13.7 feet (4.17 meters)
Rotor Diameter: 48 feet (14.62 meters)
Speed: 147 knots (169.05 miles per hour) in basic combat attack configuration
Maximum takeoff weight: 14,750 pounds (6,696.50 kilograms)
Range: 256 nautical miles (294.4 miles) in basic combat attack configuration
Ceiling: 18,700 feet (5703.5 meters) in basic combat attack configuration (limited to 10,000 feet (3050 kilometers) by oxygen requirements)
Crew: 2 officers
Armament: One 20MM turreted cannon with 750 rounds; four external wing stations that can fire 2.75"/5.0" rockets and a wide variety of precision guided missiles, to include TOW/Hellfire (point target/anti-armor), Sidewinder (anti-air) Sidearm (anti-radar).
Introduction date: 1986
Unit Replacement Cost: $10,700,000

Mission: Fire support and security for forward and rear area forces, point target/anti-armor, anti-helicopter, armed escort, supporting arms control and coordination, point and limited area air defense from enemy fixed-wing aircraft, armed and visual reconnaissance.

Features: The AH-1W Super Cobra is a day/night marginal weather Marine Corps attack helicopter that provides enroute escort for our assault helicopters and their embarked forces. The AH-1W is a two-place, tandem-seat, twin-engine helicopter capable of land- or sea-based operations. The AH-1W provides fire support and fire support coordination to the landing force during amphibious assaults and subsequent operations ashore.

The AH-1W is operated in eight composite HMLA squadrons composed of 18 AH-1 and 9 UH-1 aircraft. The AH-1W is curretnly being outfitted with a Night Targeting System/Forward Looking Infrared Radar that provides laser rangefinding/designating and camera capabilities.

Inventory: 147

Background: The Marine Corps deployed 4 of 6 active force squadrons (48 AH-1Ws) to Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. These helicopters destroyed 97 tanks, 104 armored personnel carriers and vehicles, 16 bunkers and 2 antiaircraft artillery sites without the loss of any aircraft. The deployment required no additional augmentation to squadron support personnel and only one Bell Helicopter technical representative.

Date last modified: 12/05/95