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Thread: AH-1W Super Cobra

  1. Super Moderator Al Barbour's Avatar
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    AH-1W Super Cobra

    The AH-1W Super Cobra is a day/night marginal weather Marine Corps attack helicopter that provides enroute escort for assault helicopters and their embarked forces. It is the only western attack helicopter with a proven air-to-air and anti-radar missile capability. The primary mission of the AH-1W aircraft is as an armed tactical helicopter capable of helo close air support, low altitude and high speed flight, target search and acquisition, reconnaissance by fire, multiple weapons fire support, troop helicopter support, and point target attack of threatening armor. 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 a two-place, tandem-seat, twin-engine helicopter capable of land- or sea-based operations. The rear seat pilot is primarily responsible for maneuvering the aircraft. The front pilot controls the aircraft's weapons systems, but he also has a full set aircraft controls. The AH-1W distinguished itself with its more powerful T700-GE-401 fully marinized engines and advanced electronic weapons capability. The AH-1W has significantly improved power available in high altitude, hot environment, and single engine performance. The Super Cobra is armed with a 20mm turret gun, TOW, Hellfire, Sidewinder, Sidearm missiles, and 5 inch or 2.75 inch rockets. The HELLFIRE Missile System increased ordnance delivery and firepower capabilities. The AH-1W Super Cobra provides full night-fighting capability with the Night Targeting System (NTS). The Night Targeting System (NTS) further enhanced the AH-1W's warfighting capability by adding FLIR sensor, CCD TV sensor, Laser Designator/Rangefinder, Automatic Target Tracking and FLIR, and CCD TV video recording.

    Current AH-1W assets are comprised of a mixture of new production AH-1Ws and aircraft block upgrade AH-1Ts remanufactured into the AH-1W aircraft. By the early 1980s, USMC aircraft inventory was declining due to attrition; a fully navalized helicopter was sought. In 1983, the USMC contracted with BHI for 44 AH-1Ws. An upgrade to the AT-1T, the AH-1W was received in 1986. The Tactical Navigation System (TNS) was placed in all production and block upgrade AH-1W aircraft delivered since February 1991. Previously delivered AH-1Ws are retrofit with TNS prior to CCM/NTS induction. The NTS/Canopy/Cockpit Modification (CCM) replaces the existing canopy, nose faring, and copilot/gunner instrument panel to make provisions for the NTS and adds the TNS, CDU-800, to the front cockpit. Additionally, a communication/ navigation upgrade, ECP 1686, incorporated an ARC-210(V)Electronic Protection (EP) Radio, an ARN-153 V-4 TACAN, and an AN/ASN-163 Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (EGI) commencing in 1996.

    Night Targeting System (NTS) TECHEVAL was conducted from May through September 1993 by VX-5 at Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division (NAWC-WD), China Lake; Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona; White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico; Bridgeport, California; and on amphibious ships at sea. Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) (OT-IIIA) commenced in February 1994 and concluded in May 1994. NTS OPEVAL was conducted from May through September 1993 by VX-5 at Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division (NAWC-WD), China Lake; Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona; White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico; Cold Lake, Canada; and on amphibious ships at sea. Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) commenced during July 1994 and ended in April 1995.

    The NTS upgrade provides increased mission, safety and performance characteristics and incorporates a Canopy/ Cockpit Modification to the front cockpit. The approved OSIPs which include the ARC-210 (v) EP Radio, the ARN-153V(4)TACAN and the Global Positioning System/Embedded Inertial Navigation System (EGI) AN/ASN-163 (V) will also enhance the AH-1W Weapon Systems upon their incorporation.

    The NTS is a modification of the existing M-65 TOW Missile System that offers a fire control system providing the flight crew with the ability to detect, acquire, track, lock-on, range, and designate targets under day, night, and adverse weather conditions. ECP 1648R4, Canopy/Cockpit Modification is the ECP that modifies the aircraft to accommodate the NTS. The front cockpit of the AH-1W has been modified to facilitate the addition of the NTS. This modification has also resulted in increased efficiency in the front cockpit and helps divide cockpit workload between the front and rear cockpits. Specifically, the additions and deletions are: Expansion of the ASQ-205 Cockpit Control System (CCS) to include the front cockpit; re-design of the instrument panel to include a more IFR compatible flight instrument cluster; addition of a 5" x 5" Multi-Function Display (MFD) in the front cockpit; and addition of the ANVIS HUD system with control heads in both cockpits. The Night Targeting System (NTS) includes the following hardware changes to the AH-1W: modification of the M-65 telescopic sighting unit (TSU) to accommodate the FLIR; an extended Optical Relay Tube (ORT) to accommodate a CCD TV camera; and addition of a Laser Designator/Rangefinding System (LDRS).

    ECP-1674 Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite reduces aircraft vulnerability with electronic countermeasures. The suite is designed to alert and protect the aircraft from surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles. The AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System (MWS) provides a visual and aural warning to flight crews of missile detection, while at the same time the MWS will initiate countermeasures by sending an eject signal to the AN/ALE-39 Countermeasures Dispenser Set (CDS). The AN/AVR-2 Laser Warning Receiver detects pulsed laser light (such as a rangefinder) directed at the helicopter and warns the crew of this activity. It provides an audio alert and identifies the threat by its type and location relative to the helicopter. The AN/APR-39A(V)2 Radar Detection System is a passive omni-directional detection system which receives and displays information to the pilot concerning the radar environment surrounding the helicopter.

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

    The Marine Corps deployed 4 of 6 active force squadrons (48 AH-1Ws) to Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The deployment required no additional augmentation to squadron support personnel and only one Bell Helicopter technical representative. During Operation Desert Storm, the AH-1W comprised less than 20% of the attack helicopter force deployed, yet flew more than 50% of the total attack force flight-hours. In the entire Desert Shield/ Desert Storm campaign, SuperCobras flew more than three times the number of hours per aircraft per month than any other attack helicopter. And during the "100 Hour War," its reliability and 92% mission readiness rate were superior to all other attack helicopters by as much as 24%... without any factory-supported maintenance augmentation. Perhaps most impressive, this record was amassed under some of the most adverse environmental conditions ever endured in modern warfare. Temperatures consistently reached the 57-63°C (135-145°F) range. A mix of fine granite/limestone sand dust the consistency of talcum powder was a constant threat to man and machine. And the air was often filled with a black concoction of burning oil and blowing sand The final result? Marine Corps crews and their AH-lWs destroyed 97 tanks, 104 armored personnel carriers and vehicles, 16 bunkers and two antiaircraft artillery sites.

    Future Upgrades include provisions for an Inflatable Body And Head Restraint System (IBAHRS). The IBAHRS itself will be incorporated upon receipt of the system. An operational requirement has been identified for a Wing Tip Armament Station modification and retrofit. Upon approval, this upgrade will be incorporated into the AH-1W airframe and will include as a minimum provisions for integration of up to six (6) universal weapons stations. The Cockpit Integration Requirement identified in the Operational Requirements Document for the AH-1W Mid Life Upgrade will be targeted by the 4 Bladed program which is being studied as another future AH-1W weapon system enhancement.

    Source: http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...raft/ah-1w.htm
    Alan H. Barbour, Historian
    USMC Combat Helicopter Assoc
    SAEPE EXPERTUS, SEMPER FIDELIS, FRATRES AETERNI
    "Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"

  2. Super Moderator Al Barbour's Avatar
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    AH-1W Specifications

    Contractor: Bell Helicopter TEXTRON, Inc. (Prime), General Electric, Kollsman Inc.
    Power Plant: Two General Electric T700-GE-401 Turboshaft engines
    Each engine delivers 1,690 horsepower.

    Accommodations: Two seats, in tandem (pilot in rear, copilot/gunner in front)

    Performance: Climb rate: 1,925 feet per minute
    Maximum altitude: 14,750 feet
    Maximum attainable speed: 170 knots (195 mph)
    Maximum cruising speed: 152 knots (173 mph)

    Countermeasures: AN/ALE-39 Chaff system and SUU-4/1 Flare dispensers

    Armament: One M197 three barrel 20 mm gun (mounted under the nose with 750 round ammo container)
    Underwing attachments for four TOW missiles, eight Hellfire missiles, or one AIM-9L Sidewinder missile
    Can also be equipped with Zuni rocket launchers

    Source: http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...ah-1-specs.htm

  3. Super Moderator Al Barbour's Avatar
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    AH-1Z Super Cobra - Next Generation

    A four bladed version of the AH-1W, designated the AH-1Z, is also under development; the addition of the extra blades dramatically improves the performance envelope of the AH-1W. Currently, the AH-1W is being retrofitted with a Kollsman-manufactured Night Targeting System (NTS). The aircraft is also undergoing a cockpit reconfiguration to allow for easier copilot/gunner access to the NTS. The upgrade of the AH-1W, including the new cockpit, is referred to as the Four Bladed AH-1W (4BW) and the upgrade of the UH-1N drive train is referred to as the Four Bladed UH-1N (4BN). Collectively, the 4BN/4BW effort constitutes the USMC H-1 Upgrades Program.

    The Marine Corps plans to upgrade 180 of the AH-1W gunships to the new AH-1Z standard. The first flight was conducted in December 2000, to be followed by low-rate initial production beginning in February 2002, with deliveries running from 2004 through 2013.

    In July 1998, Bell Helicopter competitively selected Lockheed Martin for development of the AH-1Z Target Sight System (TSS). The TSS provides advanced third generation thermal image processing, eye-safe laser range finding, target designation, and full fire control integration. In August 1998, four AH-1Ws were delivered to Bell Helicopter for conversion into AH-1Z test aircraft. In September 1998, engineers completed a highly successful critical design review of the airframe, which featured a state-of-the-art, computer generated electronic mock-up to convey design details. The design review paved the way for manufacturing development. Also in 1998, the program delivered seven AH-1Ws to the Marine Corps, bringing the current aircraft inventory to 201. Additionally, several other improvements for the AH-1W (night targeting system and communications/navigation) continued.

    This program combines upgrades of two USMC H-1 aircraft: the AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter and the UH-1N light utility helicopter. The common element of the two will be identical twin engines and drive trains, including a new four-bladed rotor previously developed but not fielded. In addition, the AH-1 attack helicopter will gain a new integrated cockpit and night targeting system. The upgrade will extend the life of the H-1 two models well into the 21st century. The AH-1 will contribute to precision engagement and full-dimensional protection; the UH-1 will provide support to focused logistics.

    Bearingless, composite main rotor systems were successfully tested at BHTI in the early 1980’s and are now standard on the Bell 430 helicopter. Based on the performance of this remarkable rotor system, the USMC decided to incorporate it in their new AH-1Z helicopter. This unique rotor system provides unprecedented agility, substantially increased speed, a smoother ride, a more stable weapons platform, and excellent reliability. It will also reduce crew fatigue and enhance combat mission effectiveness.

    A Sikorsky Bearingless Main Rotor (SBMR) was successfully tested in the 40- by 80-Foot Wind Tunnel test section of the NASA Ames National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC). This five-bladed 44-foot diameter demonstrator rotor system was designed using existing S-76 composite main rotor blades and a new five-bladed hub, employing design features similar to the rotor proposed for the RAH-66 Comanche. The rotor was first tested on the Sikorsky Main Rotor Whirl Stand, concluding in August 1991. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was then signed to perform a wind tunnel test at Ames. Under the MOA, Sikorsky performed additional qualification testing and analysis to support the test program. NASA provided technical support during the pre-test effort and then tested the rotor system for a 14-week period during the summer of 1992.

    Under the 4BW/4BN fully integrated cockpits will be phased into the development after initial work on the drive system is underway. Initial work will consist of simultaneous design efforts for the 4BW and 4BN. Major modifications include: a new rotor system with semi-automatic bladefold of the new composite rotor system, a new performance matched transmission, a new 4-bladed tail rotor and drive system, a more effective stabilizer, upgraded landing gear, tail pylon structural modifications and common cockpits.

    This remanufacture will add 10,000 flight hours to 4BW/4BN airframes. The 4BW will increase aircraft maneuverability, speed, and payload (ordnance) capability. The fully integrated cockpits will reduce operator workload and improve situational awareness, thus increasing safety. It will provide growth potential for future weapon systems and avionics, which would increase mission effectiveness and survivability. As discrete systems have previously been added to both aircraft, pilot workload has progressively worsened. The cockpits will include integration of on-board mission planning, communications, digital fire control, self navigation, night targeting, and weapons systems in nearly identical crew stations reducing training requirements. The 4BN effort will incorporate the 4BW rotor system into the UH-1N aircraft, as well as a fully integrated cockpit common with the 4BW, maximizing commonality between the two aircraft and providing needed improvements in crew and passenger survivability, payload, power available, endurance, range, airspeed, maneuverability and supportability.

    The 4BN/4BW program was instituted in the summer of 1996 by combining several lesser upgrades planned but not executed by the Marine Corps. Prior to entry into EMD in September, 1996, DOT&E approved the program's alternative LFT&E plan and USD(A&T) approved a waiver from full-up, system-level LFT&E. The AH-1W will be tested full-up, system-level; the UH-1N received a waiver from full-up, system-level testing. The H-1 Upgrade ORDs require that both helicopters be tolerant to impacts by 12.7mm rounds and have crashworthy enhancements. Additionally, the drive components of the AH-1W should be tolerant to 23mm rounds.

    The H-1 Upgrade has the most comprehensive and realistic aircraft LFT&E program approved to date. The program will include full-up, system-level testing of an AH-1W and testing of all but the tail (which is common to both aircraft) of the UH-1N. It will explore in detail various potential kill mechanisms related to the expected threat. The LFT&E program is integrated fully into the systems engineering effort and should yield a reasonable opportunity to incorporate improvements if deficiencies are found.

    According to DOT&E, the AH-1Z attack helicopter demonstrated a doubling in payload and a 20 percent increase in range and endurance over the AH-1W aircraft during 2003 testing. The digital cockpit enhanced pilot situational awareness and reduced workload in some areas. However, poor targeting performance of the newly installed Targeting Sight System (TSS) degraded mission effectiveness and increased pilot workload. Problems with TSS stability, focusing, target loss during field-of-view changes, and anomalous TSS behavior must be resolved before this aircraft can be considered operationally effective.

    Source: http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...raft/ah-1z.htm

  4. Newly Registered User
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    Red face

    Outstanding Article Al
    Additionally in 86/87 if memory serves there were only a few proudtion AH1W's all others were converterted/remade AH-1T's and AH-1J's BHT moded the tailboom to W's spec and them and DOD called it a conversion acft. HMA-169 at Pendleton was first to get the Moded W's in late 86 and in Jun 87 HML-267, redis to HMLA-267 got it's first W's as they started send J's to BHT for conversion. HMLA-267 was scheduled to take rhose first W's to Okinawa in Oct 87 to replace the RVN era AH-1J's there, those J's had been in westpac since 1971 time frame.
    top A

  5. President Slick's Avatar
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    If memory serves me, at least one of the J's in OKI's only time in the states was when it came off the Bell assembly line. From there to RVN then to Okinawa. Also seem to recall we couldn't hang anything on one of its stations. Something about ghosts and inadvertant "pickle." Made for interesting scheduling.
    Slick

  6. Newly Registered User
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    AH-1W Lineage

    No AH-1Js were converted to AH-1Ws except in a round about way. The first two AH-1Ts were actually made from the last two AH-1Js that were on the production line. I don't know how far down the line they were at the time. One of those first two aircraft is still flying as an AH-1W at China Lake. As far as I know the all AH-1Ts were made into W. Just like all Ws will be made into AH-1Zs. I don't think there are any Ts left anywhere. Doubt you'll ever see a W in a museum either. We'll reuse them as Zs. Quite a few AH-1Js in museums and on display, just off the top of my head: Pensacola, Pax River, Intrepid, Patriots Point, Charlotte, Miramar, Quantico, and Camp Pendleton. I rescued the one at Camp Pendleton from the CFR pit there in 1997 and took all of the bumps off it and backdated it to 1970s ERA. Later they put the MARHUK scheme on it as it was one of the MARHUK Bunos. When I was looking for parts for this project I ran across the first J, 157757, in the CFR pit in Yuma. It was pretty far gone but could have been saved by a museum with the resources. I tried to find a home for it but no one wanted it. It's gone now - probably scrap. At the time there were also 30 some Js in the boneyard at Davis Monthan. Even though they were going strike all of them they still wanted to charge me for the parts to rebuild the Camp Pendelton J.
    Randy

  7. If memory serves me, at least one of the J's in OKI's only time in the states was when it came off the Bell assembly line. From there to RVN then to Okinawa. Also seem to recall we couldn't hang anything on one of its stations. Something about ghosts and inadvertant "pickle." Made for interesting scheduling.
    That was probably 157757, the first J model. HMA-369 passed it on to HML-367 when they were relocated from Oki to Pendleton (Apr 77). I was there from June to December 1977 with HMA-369 Det A and I think it was in a "down" status the entire time for avionics problems. We had six or eight Js and that was the only one that wasn't flown.

  8. Newly Registered User
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    Those 8 J's in Oki were slated to come home in fall of 87 with HMLA-369, when HMLA-267 took first W's over. Not sure if it happen.
    top A

  9. President Slick's Avatar
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    267 Det A didn't take any acft with them when we relieved 367.
    Slick

  10. Newly Registered User
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    The Oki swapout of Js to Ws must have happened sometime during the next cycle because when I got to 367 at Camp Pendleton in 88 they were all AH-1Ws except for one J hangar queen. We deployed to Oki in 89 and the Ws were there already.
    Randy

  11. Newly Registered User Mario Maia's Avatar
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    AH-1W in SAND collor

    Dear Sir,

    I´m Brazilian plastic model builder and I´m searching for AH-1W to
    build one model in 1:72 scale.
    I need photos and drawings to complete my project: Build one AH-1W in
    SAND collor on Desert Storm Operation.
    One friend indicated me Your page: http://www.popasmoke.com but I
    didn´t find the AH-1W in this collor.
    Would You have same information about this helicopter and send me?
    Other question: Did the AH-1W operated in Desert Storm used the
    Sidewinders?

    Thanks in advanced
    Best regards
    Mario Maia
    maia_mario@yahoo.com.br
    Brazil

  12. Newly Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario Maia
    Dear Sir,

    I´m Brazilian plastic model builder and I´m searching for AH-1W to
    build one model in 1:72 scale.
    I need photos and drawings to complete my project: Build one AH-1W in
    SAND collor on Desert Storm Operation.
    One friend indicated me Your page: http://www.popasmoke.com but I
    didn´t find the AH-1W in this collor.
    Would You have same information about this helicopter and send me?
    Other question: Did the AH-1W operated in Desert Storm used the
    Sidewinders?

    Thanks in advanced
    Best regards
    Mario Maia
    maia_mario@yahoo.com.br
    Brazil
    Go here

    http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/

    and here

    http://www.helikitnews.com/

  13. Newly Registered User
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    Ah-1w

    Dear sir or madam:
    AH-1W is a military and attack helicopter.Please go in www.bellhelicopter.com

  14. Newly Registered User
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    rockhill, south carolina

    AH1W Super Cobra's early beginnings

    I was a hydraulics technician attached to China Lake from HMLA 169 in
    1986. I had the honor of evaluating the retro fitted "T" model to a Super Cobra. We exposed the aircraft to extreme conditions i.e. Yuma Army Proving Grounds (desert) and Bridgeport Ca. (mountainous).

    I was called back to 169 early to deploy on a wespac aboard the USS Tarawa LHA/1. I was also present when the first production modles ("W") that arrived at Camp Pendleton shortly after returning from my wespac.

    I hope this might clear up any questions. It's hard to believe that the "W" is already being replaced. I'm old...

  15. Newly Registered User Jim Wilkening's Avatar
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    1st Plane Captain

    Neal,

    You’re not that old. In 1970 I became the first “NATOPS Qualified” AH-1G plane captain in the Marine Corps while serving on the flight line with HML-367. I was also a plane captain on VMO-2’s flight line in 1969 but, there were no NATOPS qualifications at that time. SEMPER FI, Jim Wilkening, Former Sgt. HML-367


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