AH-1S Cobra

The Bell AH-1 Cobra is a single-engine attack helicopter developed and manufactured by the American rotorcraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter of Fort Worth, Texas.

Warbird Overview

The AH-1 was developed using the engine, transmission and rotor system of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois, which had proven itself to be a capable platform during the Vietnam War. It was produced in response to fulfil a need for a dedicated armed escort for transport helicopters to give the latter greater survivability in contested environments. Accordingly, the AH-1 was a dedicated attack helicopter, featuring a tandem cockpit, stub wings for weapons, and a chin-mounted gun turret. The first examples of the type entered service with the United States Army during 1967; other branches of the US military also opted to acquire the type, particularly the United States Marine Corps, while export sales were made to numerous overseas countries, including Israel, Japan, and Turkey.

ABOUT THE AH-1S COBRA

The Bell AH-1 Cobra is a single-engined attack helicopter developed and manufactured by the American rotorcraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter of Fort Worth, Texas. The Cobra is a member of the prolific Huey family, the AH-1 is also referred to as the HueyCobra or Snake.

The AH-1 was developed using the engine, transmission and rotor system of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois, which had proven itself to be a capable platform during the Vietnam War. It was produced in response to fulfil a need for a dedicated armed escort for transport helicopters to give the latter greater survivability in contested environments. Accordingly, the AH-1 was a dedicated attack helicopter, featuring a tandem cockpit, stub wings for weapons, and a chin-mounted gun turret. The first examples of the type entered service with the United States Army during 1967; other branches of the US military also opted to acquire the type, particularly the United States Marine Corps, while export sales were made to numerous overseas countries, including Israel, Japan, and Turkey.

For several decades, the AH-1 formed the core of the US Army’s attack helicopter fleet, seeing combat in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and Iraq. In US Army service, the Cobra was progressively replaced by the newer and more capable Boeing AH-64 Apache during the 1990s, with the final examples being withdrawn during 2001. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) operated the Cobra most prolifically along its land border with Lebanon, using its fleet intensively during the 1982 Lebanon War. Turkish AH-1s have seen regular combat with Kurdish insurgents near Turkey’s southern borders. Upgraded versions of the Cobra have been developed, such as the twin engined AH-1 SeaCobra/SuperCobra and the experimental Bell 309 KingCobra. Furthermore, surplus AH-1 helicopters have been reused for other purposes, including civilian ones; numerous examples have been converted to perform aerial firefighting operations.

  • Fact #1

    This Bell Cobra is a single-engine version of this helicopter gunship that was built in Fort Worth, Texas.

  • Fact #2

    This specific aircraft was used by Elbit Systems in Fort Worth as an engineering research and development subject for nearly fifteen years.

  • Fact #3

    This model of Cobra brought together firepower with state-of-the-art fire control computer technology.

General characteristics
Crew: 2: one pilot, one co-pilot/gunner (CPG)
Length: 53 ft including rotors
Fuselage length: 44 ft 5 in
Width: 10 ft 4 in stub wings
Height: 13 ft 6 in
Empty weight: 5,810 lb
Max takeoff weight: 9,500 lb
Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming T53-L-703 turboshaft, 1,800 hp
Main rotor diameter: 44 ft 0 in
Main rotor area: 1,520 sq ft
Blade section: NACA 0009.3 mod

Performance
Maximum speed: 149 knots / 171 mph
Never exceed speed: 190 knots/ 220 mph
Range: 310 nmi
Service ceiling: 11,400 ft
Rate of climb: 1,230 ft/min

Armament
2 × 7.62 mm multi-barrel Miniguns, or 2 × M129 40 mm grenade launchers, or one of each, in the M28 turret. (When one of each was mounted, the minigun was mounted on the right side of the turret, due to feed requirements.)
2.75 in rockets – 7 rockets mounted in the M158 launcher or 19 rockets in the M200 launcher
M18 7.62 mm Minigun pod or XM35 armament subsystem with XM195 20 mm cannon
M65 TOW/Cobra missile subsystem, M65 Telescopic Sight Unit (TSU), and M73 Reflex sight.

AH-1S model upgraded to an AH-1F
The AH-1F incorporates all upgrades to the AH-1S. It also featured Step 3 upgrades: a head-up display, a laser rangefinder, an infrared jammer mounted above the engine exhaust, and an infrared suppressing engine exhaust system, and the M143 Air Data Subsystem (ADS). The AH-1F is also referred to as the “Modernized AH-1S”, “AH-1S Modernized Cobra”, or “AH-1S(MC)” prior to 1988.

Our Bell AH-1S-BF Cobra (serial number 82-24076) had been loaned to a local defense contractor for many years. It was released back to the government and sold to the Fort Worth Aviation Museum. It is in amazing condition and looks ready to fly away. It was acquired in January 2020.

Good shape and will need a good wash and brush down.

Note: Scheduling is always a moving target depending on weather and workload. All schedules are subject to changes.

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