Marine Corps (USMC)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Update: July 31, 2013.
By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard /// (email@example.com)
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:
|Purchases of H-1 Helicopters (NAVY)||AH-1W Aircraft Modifications (NAVY)||Sequestration FY2013|
|Aircraft Spares and Parts (NAVY)|
Primary Function: Close air support, anti-armor, armed escort,