The U.S. Marine Corps is replacing its fleet of aging AH-1 Super Cobras with the faster more maneuverable AH-1Z Viper. In an article written on Stars and Stripes Matthew Burke lays out the advantages of the next generation attack helicopter.
The next time Marines hit a Pacific beach, they will have the most advanced attack helicopter in the world at their backs.
Eight AH-1Z Vipers began arriving at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in late November to permanently replace the service’s aging fleet of AH-1W Super Cobras, Marine officials said, and more are on the way. Though they have made sporadic appearances in the region over the past few years, this is the Vipers’ first permanent deployment to the Pacific. […]
[…] Bunn and his fellow pilots said the biggest advantage is the Viper’s improved sensor, called the Target Sight System. In the past, Marine attack-helicopter sensors would not identify a target until the aircraft was almost right on top of it, giving pilots mere seconds to make a decision on what to do. Now, Livingston says, pilots have “multiple minutes.”
“It has us doing our jobs a little bit better,” said Maj. Daniel Hipol, squadron director of safety and standardization. “We can find targets easier and keep more standoff (distance) from them, so all around, it’s a better aircraft.”
The Viper can carry more fuel than the Super Cobra so it can stay airborne for at least 30 more minutes, perhaps even up to an hour when supplementary fuel tanks are added, Bunn said. The Super Cobra could carry only eight Hellfire missiles, and that was a stretch. The Viper can carry 16.
“We start running into, ‘Hey, do we have enough targets for all of this ordnance?'” Bunn said. […]
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