AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Aircraft profile

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Mission: Fire support and security helicopter 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.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369), Camp Pendleton, California, flies a under a snow white cloud cover during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369), Camp Pendleton, California, flies a under a snow white cloud cover during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97.

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 currently being outfitted with a Night Targeting System/Forward Looking Infrared Radar that provides laser rangefinding/designating and camera capabilities.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265), the Air Combat Element (ACE) for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), lands aboard USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA 3) during the ACE fly on in preparation for Special Operations Capable qualification Exercise (SOCEX). The SOCEX training exercise prepares the MEU for special missions including humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, non-combatant evacuations, tactical recoveries of aircraft and personnel, amphibious raids, and show-of-force operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265), the Air Combat Element (ACE) for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), lands aboard USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA 3) during the ACE fly on in preparation for Special Operations Capable qualification Exercise (SOCEX). The SOCEX training exercise prepares the MEU for special missions including humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, non-combatant evacuations, tactical recoveries of aircraft and personnel, amphibious raids, and show-of-force operations.

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.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A US Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter armed with AGM-114 Hellfire Missiles flies a patrol along the highway on a march to the Euphrates River, in Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A US Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter armed with AGM-114 Hellfire Missiles flies a patrol along the highway on a march to the Euphrates River, in Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

General specifications:

Primary function: Attack helicopter

Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron
Power plant: Two General Electric T700-GE-401 engines

Thrust:

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

Source: US Marine Corps

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Captain Tom Priest of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 preflights an AH-1W Cobra during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Captain Tom Priest of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 preflights an AH-1W Cobra during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

The Bell AH-1 SuperCobra is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the US Army's AH-1 Cobra. The twin Cobra family includes the AH-1J SeaCobra, the AH-1T Improved SeaCobra, and the AH-1W SuperCobra. The AH-1W is the backbone of the United States Marine Corps's attack helicopter fleet, but will be replaced in service by the AH-1Z Viper upgrade in the next decade.

Development

The AH-1 Cobra was developed in the mid-1960s as an interim gunship for the U.S. Army for use in Vietnam. The Cobra shared the proven transmission, rotor system, and the T53 turboshaft engine of the UH-1 "Huey".

By June 1967, the first AH-1G HueyCobras had been delivered. Bell built 1,116 AH-1Gs for the U.S. Army between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras chalked up over a million operational hours in Vietnam.

The U.S. Marine Corps was very interested in the AH-1G Cobra, but preferred a twin-engined version for improved safety in over-water operations, and also wanted a more potent turret-mounted weapon. At first, the Department of Defense had balked at providing the Marines with a twin-engined version of the Cobra, in the belief that commonality with Army AH-1Gs outweighed the advantages of a different engine fit. However, the Marines won out and awarded Bell a contract for 49 twin-engined AH-1J SeaCobras in May 1968. As an interim measure, the U.S. Army passed on 38 AH-1Gs to the Marines in 1969. The AH-1J also received a more powerful gun turret. It featured a three barrel 20 mm XM197 cannon that was based on the six barrel M61 Vulcan cannon.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (HMM-365), attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (26th MEU(SOC)) as the ocean's mist creates streaks in the air around the helicopters rotor blades as it lifts off the USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3).AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (HMM-365), attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (26th MEU(SOC)) as the ocean's mist creates streaks in the air around the helicopters rotor blades as it lifts off the USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3).

The Marine Corps requested greater load carrying capability in high temperatures for the Cobra in the 1970s. Bell used systems from the Model 309 to develop the AH-1T. This version had a lengthened tailboom and fuselage with an upgraded transmission and engines from the 309. Bell designed the AH-1T to be more reliable and easier to maintain in the field. The version was given full TOW capability with targeting system and other sensors. An advanced version, known as the AH-1T+ with more powerful T700-GE-700 engines and advanced avionics was proposed to Iran in the late 1970s, but the overthrow of the Shah of Iran resulted in the sale being canceled.

In the early 1980s, the U.S. Marine Corps sought a new navalized helicopter, but was denied funding to buy the AH-64 Apache by Congress in 1981. The Marines in turn pursued a more powerful version of the AH-1T. Other changes included modified fire control systems to carry and fire AIM-9 Sidewinder and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The new version was funded by Congress and received the AH-1W designation. At least 266 were delivered.

The AH-1T+ demonstrator and AH-1W prototype was later tested with a new experimental composite four blade main rotor system. The new system offered better performance, reduced noise and improved battle damage tolerance. Lacking a USMC contract, Bell developed this new design into the AH-1Z with its own funds. By 1996, the Marines were again not allowed to order the AH-64. Developing a marine version of the Apache would have been expensive and it was likely that the Marine Corps would be its only customer. They instead signed a contract for upgrading 180 AH-1Ws into AH-1Zs.

The AH-1Z Viper features several design changes. The AH-1Z's two redesigned wing stubs are longer with each adding a wing-tip station for a missile such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder. Each wing has two other stations for 70 mm (2.75 in) Hydra rocket pods, or AGM-114 Hellfire quad missile launcher. The Longbow radar can be mounted on a wing tip station.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter pilot communicates with the grounds crew in preparation for flight operations aboard the Wasp Class USS BON HOMME RICHARD (LHD-6) during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '99 off the coast of Camp Pendleton, California. KERNEL BLITZ is a bi-annual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter pilot communicates with the grounds crew in preparation for flight operations aboard the Wasp Class USS BON HOMME RICHARD (LHD-6) during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '99 off the coast of Camp Pendleton, California. KERNEL BLITZ is a bi-annual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.

Operational history

During the Gulf War in 1990-91, the Cobras and SeaCobras deployed in a support role. A total of 78 Marine SeaCobras flew 1,273 sorties with no combat losses. Three AH-1s were lost in accidents during fighting and afterwards. Marine AH-1Ws destroyed 97 tanks, 104 armored personal carriers and vehicles, and two anti-aircraft artillery sites during the 100-hour ground campaign.

Iranian AH-1J SeaCobras participated in air combat with Iraqi Mi-24s on several separate occasions during the Iran–Iraq War. The results of these engagements are disputed. One document cited that "Iranian AH-1Js engaged Iraqi MI-8 Hip and MI-24 Hind helicopters. Unclassified sources report that the Iranian AH-1 pilots achieved a 10:1 kill ratio over the Iraqi helicopter pilots during these engagements (1:5). Additionally, Iranian AH-1 and Iraqi fixed wing aircraft engagements also occurred. Others claim that in the entire eight-year conflict, ten Iranian AH-1Js were lost in combat, compared to six Iraqi Mi-24. The skirmishes are described as fairly evenly matched in another source. Iranian AH-1Js are still operating today and have undergone indigenous upgrade programs. In 1988, two Soviet MiG-23s shot down a pair of Iranian AH-1Js that had strayed into western Afghan airspace.

AH-1 Cobras continue to operate with the U.S. Marine Corps. USMC Cobras were also used in operations throughout the 1990s. USMC Cobras have also served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in Operation Iraqi Freedom in the ongoing conflict in Iraq. While new replacement aircraft were considered as an alternative to major upgrades of the AH-1 fleet, Marine Corps studies showed that an upgrade was the most affordable, most supportable and most effective solution for the Marine Corps light attack helicopter mission.

Variants

AH-1J SeaCobra

Original twin engine version.

AH-1J International

Export version of the AH-1J SeaCobra.

AH-1T Improved SeaCobra

Improved version with extended tailboom and fuselage and an upgraded transmission and engines.

AH-1W SuperCobra

("Whiskey Cobra"), day/night version with more powerful engines and advanced weapons capability.

AH-1Z Viper

("Zulu Cobra"), in conjunction with the UH-1Y Venom upgrade. Version includes an upgraded 4 blade main rotor and adds the Night Targeting System (NTS).

Model 309 King Cobra

Experimental version powered by two engines.

Cobra Venom

Proposed version for the United Kingdom.

AH-1RO Dracula

Proposed version for Romania.

AH-1Z King Cobra

AH-1Z offered under Turkey's ATAK program; selected for production in 2000, but later canceled when Bell and Turkey could not reach an agreement on production.

Panha 2091

unlicensed Iranian upgrade of the AH-1J International.

Specifications

Data from The International Directory of Military Aircraft, 2002-2003General characteristics

* Crew: 2: pilot, CPG (co-pilot/gunner)
* Length: 44 ft 7 in (13.6 m)
* Rotor diameter: 48 ft (14.6 m)
* Height: 13 ft 5 in (4.1 m)
* Disc area: 530.83 ft² (168.1 m²)
* Empty weight: 10,920 lb (4,953 kg)
* Max takeoff weight: 14,750 lb (6,690 kg)
* Powerplant: 2× General Electric T700 turboshaft, 1,680 shp (1,300 kW) each
* Rotor systems: 2 blades on main rotor, 2 blades on tail rotor

Performance

* Maximum speed: 190 knots (218 mph, 352 km/h)
* Range: 317 nmi (365 mi, 587 km)
* Service ceiling 12,200 ft (3,720 m)
* Rate of climb: 1,620 ft/min (8.2 m/s)

Armament

* M197 3-barreled 20 mm "Gatling-style" cannon in the A/A49E-7 turret (750 rounds ammo capacity)
* 2.75 in (70 mm) Hydra 70 rockets - Mounted in LAU-68C/A (7 shot) or LAU-61D/A (19 shot) launchers
* 5 in (127 mm) Zuni rockets - 8 rockets in two 4-round LAU-10D/A launchers
* TOW Missiles - Up to 8 missiles mounted in two-missile launchers on each hardpoint
* AGM-114 Hellfire Missiles - Up to 8 missiles mounted in two 4-round M272 missile launchers, one on each outboard hardpoint
* AIM-9 Sidewinder Anti-Aircraft Missiles - 1 mounted on each outboard hardpoint (total of 2)

More photos:

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A right side view of a Marine Utility/Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 (HML/A-169) AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter flying over the gulf. The helicopter is armed with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A right side view of a Marine Utility/Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 (HML/A-169) AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter flying over the gulf. The helicopter is armed with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A right side view of an AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter flying ground cover for troops of the 7th Marines during Operation WILD BOAR.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A right side view of an AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter flying ground cover for troops of the 7th Marines during Operation WILD BOAR.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine Corps AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter passes over the city's airfield during Operation Desert Shield.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine Corps AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter passes over the city's airfield during Operation Desert Shield.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine Utility/Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 (HML/A-169) AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter takes off from the deck of the amphibious assault ship USS OKINAWA (LPH 3). The helicopter is armed with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine Utility/Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 (HML/A-169) AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter takes off from the deck of the amphibious assault ship USS OKINAWA (LPH 3). The helicopter is armed with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine Utility/Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 (HML/A-169) AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter armed with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile flies over the gulf. An ocean minesweeper is underway in the background.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine Utility/Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 (HML/A-169) AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter armed with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile flies over the gulf. An ocean minesweeper is underway in the background.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An unusual head-on view of a AH-1W Super Cobra helicpoter parked on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS GUADALCANAL (LPH-7) during NATO Exercise Teamwork '92.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An unusual head-on view of a AH-1W Super Cobra helicpoter parked on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS GUADALCANAL (LPH-7) during NATO Exercise Teamwork '92.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter from the amphibious assault ship USS GUADALCANAL (LPH-7) in flight over snow covered mountains during NATO Exercise Teamwork '92.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter from the amphibious assault ship USS GUADALCANAL (LPH-7) in flight over snow covered mountains during NATO Exercise Teamwork '92.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter stands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS WASP (LHD-1) as the vessel is moored at Jebel Ali.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter stands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS WASP (LHD-1) as the vessel is moored at Jebel Ali.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A member of Marine Utility/Attack Squadron 369 (HMLA-369) carries TOW missile tubes as he and another Marine run toward an AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter during exercise Imminent Thunder, part of Operation Desert Shield.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A member of Marine Utility/Attack Squadron 369 (HMLA-369) carries TOW missile tubes as he and another Marine run toward an AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter during exercise Imminent Thunder, part of Operation Desert Shield.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter of Marine Utility/Attack Squadron 369 (HMLA-369) flies over the desert during Exercise Imminent Thunder, part of Operation Desert Shield.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A AH-1W Sea Cobra helicopter of Marine Utility/Attack Squadron 369 (HMLA-369) flies over the desert during Exercise Imminent Thunder, part of Operation Desert Shield.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Captain Tom Priest of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 preflights an AH-1W Cobra during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Captain Tom Priest of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 preflights an AH-1W Cobra during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W "Super Cobra" from HMLA-167 (MCAS New River, North Carolina) prepares to land at the Camp Wilson Airstrip after flight manuevers during COMBINED ARMS Exercise (CAX) 6-97. CAX 5/6-97 is a MAGTF (Marine Air Ground Task Force) exercise being conducted at MCAGCC (Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center), 29 Palms, California. The command element for this exercise is MAGTF-6, which is built around the 6th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Many commands from the II MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force) have sent units to this desert warfare exercise, to fill key billets in the Ground Combat Element (GCE), Air Combat Element (ACE) and the Combat Service Support Element (CSSE).AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W "Super Cobra" from HMLA-167 (MCAS New River, North Carolina) prepares to land at the Camp Wilson Airstrip after flight manuevers during COMBINED ARMS Exercise (CAX) 6-97. CAX 5/6-97 is a MAGTF (Marine Air Ground Task Force) exercise being conducted at MCAGCC (Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center), 29 Palms, California. The command element for this exercise is MAGTF-6, which is built around the 6th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Many commands from the II MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force) have sent units to this desert warfare exercise, to fill key billets in the Ground Combat Element (GCE), Air Combat Element (ACE) and the Combat Service Support Element (CSSE).

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter provides cover fire as the troop transport helos exit the zone during the TRAP (Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel) mission aboard Camp Lejeune. This rehearsal was for a demonstration that would be given the following day as part of the REVISED CAPABILITIES Exercise.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter provides cover fire as the troop transport helos exit the zone during the TRAP (Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel) mission aboard Camp Lejeune. This rehearsal was for a demonstration that would be given the following day as part of the REVISED CAPABILITIES Exercise.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter side: A Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369), Camp Pendleton, California, flies a under a snow white cloud cover during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter side: A Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369), Camp Pendleton, California, flies a under a snow white cloud cover during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Bell AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369), Camp Pendleton, Ca, flies above USS DENVER (LPD-9) during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Bell AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369), Camp Pendleton, Ca, flies above USS DENVER (LPD-9) during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369) practices flight operations while aboard the USS TARAWA (LHA 1) during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369) practices flight operations while aboard the USS TARAWA (LHA 1) during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Flight deck personnel and United States Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369) onboard USS TARAWA (LHA 1) wrap up for the day after a full day of flight ops during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operationsAH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Flight deck personnel and United States Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 (HMLA-369) onboard USS TARAWA (LHA 1) wrap up for the day after a full day of flight ops during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter patrols the sky on D-Day during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ, largely taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton, is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter patrols the sky on D-Day during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ, largely taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton, is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter patrols the beach area on D-Day during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. The exercise is taking place off the coast of Southern California to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter patrols the beach area on D-Day during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. The exercise is taking place off the coast of Southern California to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra gunship makes an approach into the impact area of Marine Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twenty-Nine Palms to unleash ordnance during the Supporting Arms Coordination Exercise (SACEX) portion of Exercsie KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is a biannual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra gunship makes an approach into the impact area of Marine Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twenty-Nine Palms to unleash ordnance during the Supporting Arms Coordination Exercise (SACEX) portion of Exercsie KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is a biannual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter patrols the sky over the beach on D-Day during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. The exercise is taking place off the coast of Southern California to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter patrols the sky over the beach on D-Day during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. The exercise is taking place off the coast of Southern California to train Navy and Marine Corps personnel in amphibious operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Cobra helicopter deploys defensive flares after a close air support strafing run in the Chocolate Mountain Range during Weapons and Tactics Instructions Class (WTI) 2-99.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Cobra helicopter deploys defensive flares after a close air support strafing run in the Chocolate Mountain Range during Weapons and Tactics Instructions Class (WTI) 2-99.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A US Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter prepares to liftoff from the flight deck onboard the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) as an USMC CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter flies of the starboard side of the ship, during Exercise KERNAL BLITZ Õ99.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A US Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter prepares to liftoff from the flight deck onboard the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) as an USMC CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter flies of the starboard side of the ship, during Exercise KERNAL BLITZ Õ99.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A US Marine AH-1W Super Cobra lifts off of the deck of the Tarawa Class Amphibious Assault Ship, USS TARAWA (LHA-1), after being refueled by US Navy personnel (Not shown). This mission is in direct support of the Southwest Asia build-up.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A US Marine AH-1W Super Cobra lifts off of the deck of the Tarawa Class Amphibious Assault Ship, USS TARAWA (LHA-1), after being refueled by US Navy personnel (Not shown). This mission is in direct support of the Southwest Asia build-up.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Flight deck personnel aboard USS TARAWA (LHA 1) take a break on an Marine AH-1W Super Cobra between flight quarters during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Flight deck personnel aboard USS TARAWA (LHA 1) take a break on an Marine AH-1W Super Cobra between flight quarters during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: US Navy Sailors aboard the Tarawa Class Amphibious Assault Ship, USS TARAWA (LHA-1), refuel a US Marine AH-1W Huey Super Cobra helicopter at the edge of the TARAWA's deck. This mission is in direct support of the Southwest Asia build-up.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: US Navy Sailors aboard the Tarawa Class Amphibious Assault Ship, USS TARAWA (LHA-1), refuel a US Marine AH-1W Huey Super Cobra helicopter at the edge of the TARAWA's deck. This mission is in direct support of the Southwest Asia build-up.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Assault on Red Beach by air support and sea during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '99 aboard Camp Pendleton, California. CH-53E Super Stallions are seen up high with an AH-1W Super Cobra down low providing cover for a Light Armored Vehicle-25 (LAV-25). KERNEL BLITZ is a bi-annual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Assault on Red Beach by air support and sea during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '99 aboard Camp Pendleton, California. CH-53E Super Stallions are seen up high with an AH-1W Super Cobra down low providing cover for a Light Armored Vehicle-25 (LAV-25). KERNEL BLITZ is a bi-annual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Right rear view from the ground up at a US Marine Huey Super Cobra AH-1W as it prepares to land in an open field at Camp Pendleton, California. This mission is in direct support of Operation Kernel Blitz '99.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Right rear view from the ground up at a US Marine Huey Super Cobra AH-1W as it prepares to land in an open field at Camp Pendleton, California. This mission is in direct support of Operation Kernel Blitz '99.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter pilot communicates with the grounds crew in preparation for flight operations aboard the Wasp Class USS BON HOMME RICHARD (LHD-6) during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '99 off the coast of Camp Pendleton, California. KERNEL BLITZ is a bi-annual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter pilot communicates with the grounds crew in preparation for flight operations aboard the Wasp Class USS BON HOMME RICHARD (LHD-6) during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '99 off the coast of Camp Pendleton, California. KERNEL BLITZ is a bi-annual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: US Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter pilots prepares to lift off from the flight deck onboard the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) during Exercise KERNAL BLITZ Õ99.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: US Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter pilots prepares to lift off from the flight deck onboard the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) during Exercise KERNAL BLITZ Õ99.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (HMM-365), attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (26th MEU(SOC)) as the ocean's mist creates streaks in the air around the helicopters rotor blades as it lifts off the USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3).AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (HMM-365), attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (26th MEU(SOC)) as the ocean's mist creates streaks in the air around the helicopters rotor blades as it lifts off the USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3).

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265), the Air Combat Element (ACE) for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), lands aboard USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA 3) during the ACE fly on in preparation for Special Operations Capable qualification Exercise (SOCEX). The SOCEX training exercise prepares the MEU for special missions including humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, non-combatant evacuations, tactical recoveries of aircraft and personnel, amphibious raids, and show-of-force operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265), the Air Combat Element (ACE) for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), lands aboard USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA 3) during the ACE fly on in preparation for Special Operations Capable qualification Exercise (SOCEX). The SOCEX training exercise prepares the MEU for special missions including humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, non-combatant evacuations, tactical recoveries of aircraft and personnel, amphibious raids, and show-of-force operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Super Cobra lands on USS BON HOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) after flying an escort mission protecting troop carrying helicopters to landing zones during fleet Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ, largely taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton, is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Super Cobra lands on USS BON HOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) after flying an escort mission protecting troop carrying helicopters to landing zones during fleet Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '97. KERNEL BLITZ, largely taking place off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton, is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Simulated line charge from a Mk 154 LMC (Launcher Mine Clearance) attached to an AAV-P7A1 (right) goes off on Red Beach during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '99 held at Camp Pendleton, California. The line charge allows the Abrams M1A1 Main Battle Tank (MBT) to move forward as AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter provides fire support. KERNEL BLITZ is a bi-annual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Simulated line charge from a Mk 154 LMC (Launcher Mine Clearance) attached to an AAV-P7A1 (right) goes off on Red Beach during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ '99 held at Camp Pendleton, California. The line charge allows the Abrams M1A1 Main Battle Tank (MBT) to move forward as AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter provides fire support. KERNEL BLITZ is a bi-annual Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) fleet training exercise (FLEETEX) focused on operational/tactical training of Commander, Third Fleet (C3F)/ I Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) and Commander, Amphibious Group 3 (CPG-3)/ 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). KERNEL BLITZ is designed to enhance the training of Sailors and Marines in the complexities of brigade-size amphibious assault operations.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Right side profile medium shot from a low angle up at two US Marine AH-1W Supercobra attack helicopters in flight as they participate in the amphibious assault portion of Brightstar 1999-2000 held in October and November in Egypt.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Right side profile medium shot from a low angle up at two US Marine AH-1W Supercobra attack helicopters in flight as they participate in the amphibious assault portion of Brightstar 1999-2000 held in October and November in Egypt.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A United States Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter hovers above the Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, flight line as it positions itself in a hot pit refueling area. The AH-1W is assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina. USMC CH-46E Sea Knights and AH-1W's are being hot pit refueled by a USMC KC-130 of Marine Aerial Refueling/Transport Squadron Two Five Two (VMGR-252) from MCAS Cherry Point, NC. The hot pit refueling, where one or more aircraft refuel with their engines running, occured as the helicopters transited the area while deploying to Naval Air Station Atlanta, Georgia for an exercise, 14 August 2000.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A United States Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter hovers above the Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, flight line as it positions itself in a hot pit refueling area. The AH-1W is assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina. USMC CH-46E Sea Knights and AH-1W's are being hot pit refueled by a USMC KC-130 of Marine Aerial Refueling/Transport Squadron Two Five Two (VMGR-252) from MCAS Cherry Point, NC. The hot pit refueling, where one or more aircraft refuel with their engines running, occured as the helicopters transited the area while deploying to Naval Air Station Atlanta, Georgia for an exercise, 14 August 2000.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A United States Marine Corps Twin Engine Super Cobra helicopter (AH-1W), fires 20mm rounds at Somali General Aideed's weapon cantonment (cantonment not shown). This mission is in support of Operation Restore Hope.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A United States Marine Corps Twin Engine Super Cobra helicopter (AH-1W), fires 20mm rounds at Somali General Aideed's weapon cantonment (cantonment not shown). This mission is in support of Operation Restore Hope.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Looking over the last minute details of the days flight, Major John Fitz-Patrick a Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-267 (HMLA-267), Camp Pendleton, California, AH-1W Cobra Helicopter pilot goes down the flight checklist before takeoff during exercise MILLENNIUM EDGE on Osan Air Base, Osan, Korea. MILLENNIUM EDGE is a joint and combined training exercise conducted in the Republic of Korea with assets from Marine and Air Force units. The exercise gives both the pilots and ground crew members a chance to operate in an unfamiliar place with different types equipment.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Looking over the last minute details of the days flight, Major John Fitz-Patrick a Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-267 (HMLA-267), Camp Pendleton, California, AH-1W Cobra Helicopter pilot goes down the flight checklist before takeoff during exercise MILLENNIUM EDGE on Osan Air Base, Osan, Korea. MILLENNIUM EDGE is a joint and combined training exercise conducted in the Republic of Korea with assets from Marine and Air Force units. The exercise gives both the pilots and ground crew members a chance to operate in an unfamiliar place with different types equipment.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Sea Cobra Helicopter, part of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 (HMM-262), lands on the flight deck of the USS Essex (LPH 2). The Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit who spent two months participating in various training operations on and off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, Sasebo, Japan, Pohang, Korea, and Hong Kong, China.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: An AH-1W Sea Cobra Helicopter, part of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 (HMM-262), lands on the flight deck of the USS Essex (LPH 2). The Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit who spent two months participating in various training operations on and off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, Sasebo, Japan, Pohang, Korea, and Hong Kong, China.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Marine Corps Super AH-1W Cobra Attack helicopters fires its 20mm M197 nose gun at designated targets on an Egyptian firing range just outside of Mubarak Military City in Egypt. Marines from the 1st Tank Battalion, 29 Palms, California, conducted an In-Stride Breech live fire demonstration in front of numerous nations as part of coalition training for this year's BRIGHT STAR 01-02 exercise. An In-Stride Breach is a special type of operation used to overcome and breakthrough unexpected or lightly defended obstacles. BRIGHT STAR is a multinational exercise involving more than 74,000 troops from 44 countries that is designed to enhance regional stability and military-to-military cooperation among the US, our key allies, and our regional partners. It prepares US Central Command to rapidly deploy and employ the armed forces to deter aggressors and, if necessary, fight and win side-by-side with our allies and regional partners.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: Marine Corps Super AH-1W Cobra Attack helicopters fires its 20mm M197 nose gun at designated targets on an Egyptian firing range just outside of Mubarak Military City in Egypt. Marines from the 1st Tank Battalion, 29 Palms, California, conducted an In-Stride Breech live fire demonstration in front of numerous nations as part of coalition training for this year's BRIGHT STAR 01-02 exercise. An In-Stride Breach is a special type of operation used to overcome and breakthrough unexpected or lightly defended obstacles. BRIGHT STAR is a multinational exercise involving more than 74,000 troops from 44 countries that is designed to enhance regional stability and military-to-military cooperation among the US, our key allies, and our regional partners. It prepares US Central Command to rapidly deploy and employ the armed forces to deter aggressors and, if necessary, fight and win side-by-side with our allies and regional partners.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter leaves the USS Essex LHD 2 to conduct patrols and air cover for American and Australian troops in the Shoalwater Bay military training area, in support of Exercise TANDEM THRUST. TANDEM THRUST 2001 a combined US, Australian, and Canadian military exercise for crisis action planning and execution of contingency response operations. The biannual exercise is held in the vicinity of Shoalwater Bay training area in Queensland, Australia.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: A Marine AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter leaves the USS Essex LHD 2 to conduct patrols and air cover for American and Australian troops in the Shoalwater Bay military training area, in support of Exercise TANDEM THRUST. TANDEM THRUST 2001 a combined US, Australian, and Canadian military exercise for crisis action planning and execution of contingency response operations. The biannual exercise is held in the vicinity of Shoalwater Bay training area in Queensland, Australia.

AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: The Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-267 (HMLA-267) AH-1W Cobra helicopter pilots taxi out toward the runway during the exercise MILLENNIUM EDGE on Osan Air Force Base, Osan, Korea. MILLENNIUM EDGE is a joint and combined training exercise conducted in the Republic of Korea with assets from Marine and Air Force units. The exercise gives both the pilots and ground crew members a chance to operate in an unfamiliar place with different types equipment.AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter: The Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-267 (HMLA-267) AH-1W Cobra helicopter pilots taxi out toward the runway during the exercise MILLENNIUM EDGE on Osan Air Force Base, Osan, Korea. MILLENNIUM EDGE is a joint and combined training exercise conducted in the Republic of Korea with assets from Marine and Air Force units. The exercise gives both the pilots and ground crew members a chance to operate in an unfamiliar place with different types equipment.

More photos: AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter photo gallery

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