Bell AH-1Z Viper

Product Type:

Attack Helicopter

Using Service:

Marine Corps (USMC)

Program Status:

In Production

Prime Contractor:

Bell Helicopter (Textron)

The U.S. Marine Corp AH-1Z Viper

About the AH-1Z:





The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a two seat, twin engine, single rotor attack helicopter. It is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines with 1,800 shp each. The AH-1Z is based on the AH-1W Super Cobra and features a new four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit.

Notable equipment on the AH-1Z are the Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-30 TSS Hawkeye EO/IR fire control system, the Thales TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight and Display System, the AN/ARC-210 Digital Communication System, and the Raytheon AN/APX-100 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) transponder.

The primary navigation system is the CN-1689(V)2/ASN Embedded GPS/INS supported by the AN/ARN-153(V) TACAN System and DF-301E VHF/UHF Direction Finder.

Aircraft countermeasures include the AN/APR-39A Radar Warning Receiver, AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System, AN/AVR-2A Laser Warning System, and the BAE Systems AN/ALE-47 Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System.



DoD Upgrade Program:

The H–1 Helicopter Upgrade program converts AH–1W Super Cobra and UH–1N Huey helicopters to the AH–1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom, respectively. The upgraded helicopters will have increased maneuverability, speed, and payload capability. The upgrades include a new four-bladed rotor system, new transmissions, a new four-bladed tail rotor and drive system + upgraded landing gear. Also, this program provides for UH-1Y and AH-1Z new-build rotorcraft.

The Marine Corps is replacing the two-bladed AH-1W Super Cobra with the AH-1Z Viper, which features a new four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit. The 84% commonality between the AH-1Z and the UH-1Y is expected to significantly reduce life-cycle costs and the logistical footprint of the aircraft, while increasing the maintainability and deployability.

The AH-1Z upgrades program was originally structured as a recapitalization effort to convert 127 AH-1W helicopters into AH-1Zs and build 62 new AH-1Zs. However, the increasing costs of AH-1W Super Cobra remanufacturing due to heavy wartime use and the latest cost estimates for AH-1Z new-build cabins indicate that purchasing all AH-1Zs as new-build aircraft will cost less. Also, by eliminating the AH-1W remanufacture process, the Marine Corps is able to recover more quickly from its current critical attack helicopter shortfall. The procurement strategy has been revised to exclusively purchase AH-1Z new-build aircraft beginning in FY 2013. With these changes, the revised AH-1Z procurement strategy is to convert 37 AH-1W helicopters into AH-1Zs and build 152 new AH-1Zs.



Armament/Weapons:

The AH-1Z Viper is equipped with a General Dynamics M197 20mm three-barreled gatling gun capable of firing up to 1,500 shots per minute. The Viper carries a combination of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles (AIM-9X projected), and 2.75" (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets. For more details, see specifications below.



Price/Unit Cost:

The price of the AH-1Z Viper, excluding initial spares and ancillary equipment is $29.80 million (in 2012). The cost of the airframe and avionics is $28.43 million while the engines cost $687,333 each.



Mission/Role:

The AH-1Z attack helicopter provides rotary wing close air support, anti-armor, armed escort, armed/visual reconnaissance and fire support coordination capabilities for the U.S. Marine Corps under day/night and adverse weather conditions.



FY 2013 DoD Program:

Provides funds for 4 AH-1Z remanufactured aircraft and 8 new build AH-1Z aircraft. In addition, the request provides for one additional new build AH-1Z aircraft in OCO to replace a combat loss. Procurement funds in the amount of $425.8M have been allocated for AH-1Z purchases and spare parts. AH-1Z procurement is unaffected by sequestration.



FY 2014 AH-1 DoD Program:

Provides funds in the amount of $406.1M for the purchase of 11 new build AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.

For more information, click to view the FY2014 H-1 DoD Budget.




Sources Used: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Bell Helicopter,
General Dynamics, General Electric, Lockheed Martin Corp., and Thales Group.

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2014 Budget

Last Update: July 31, 2013.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard /// (jkasper@bga-aeroweb.com)

External Resources:



Bell Helicopter's AH-1Z Site: AH-1Z Viper
Lockheed Martin: AN/AAQ-30 TSS Hawkeye EO/IR FCS General Dynamics: M197 20mm Gatling Gun

YouTube: Bell AH-1Z Viper | YouTube

Fact Sheet: Bell AH-1Z Viper Brochure

AH-1 U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the AH-1Z Viper in FY2011, FY2012, FY2013 and FY2014
DoD Purchases of AH-1Z Viper Helicopters in FY2011, FY2012, FY2013 and FY2014
DoD Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12 + Budget for FYs 2013 and 2014

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the AH-1Z Viper

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Purchases of H-1 Helicopters (NAVY) AH-1W Aircraft Modifications (NAVY) Sequestration FY2013
Aircraft Spares and Parts (NAVY)
Specifications

Aircraft Specifications: AH–1Z Viper

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Primary Function: Close air support, anti-armor, armed escort,
armed/visual reconnaissance and fire support coordination capabilities
under day/night and adverse weather conditions
Prime Contractor: Bell Helicopter Textron
Power Plant: 2x General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines with 1,800 shp (each engine)
Length: Fuselage: 44 ft 10 in (13.67 m); w/rotating rotor: 58 ft 3 in (17.8 m)
Height: 14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)
Rotor Diameter: 48 ft (14.6 m)
Weight (Empty): 12,300 lbs (5,579 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 18,500 lbs (8,390 kg)
Payload: Max: 2,176 lbs (987 kg)
Fuel Capacity: Internal: 2,858 lbs (1,296 kg)
Speed: Cruise: 155 kts/178 mph (287 km/h);
Rate of Climb: 2,790 ft/min (14.2 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 20,000+ ft (6,096+ m)
Combat Radius: 125 nm/144 miles (232 km) with 2,500 lbs (1,134 kg) payload
Crew: Two (pilot and co-pilot/gunner)
First Flight: December 8, 2000
Deployed: September 2010

Armament/Weapons:
Main Gun: 1x General Dynamics M197 20mm three-barreled gatling gun with 750 rounds (in A/A49E-7 turret).
Weapons Carried: 16x AGM-114 Hellfire missiles in 4x M272 four-round missile launchers (two on each wing);
2x AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (AIM-9X projected); 4x LAU-61 19-tube Rocket Pods for 2.75" (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets;
or 4x LAU-68 7-tube Rocket Pods for 2.75" (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets.

Avionics/Countermeasures:
Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-30 TSS Hawkeye EO/IR fire control system
Thales TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight and Display System
Northrop Grumman AN/APR-39B(V)2 Radar Warning Receiver
Alliant Techsystems AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System
Goodrich AN/AVR-2A Laser Warning System
Raytheon AN/APX-100 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF)
BAE Systems AN/ALE-47 Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System
Rockwell Collins AN/ARC-210 Digital Communication System
CN-1689(V)2/ASN Embedded GPS/INS
Rockwell Collins AN/ARN-153(V) TACAN System
DF-301E VHF/UHF Direction Finder

Program/System

Aircraft Programs Missile Programs Space Programs Shipbuilding Programs Vehicle Programs

ADIR
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