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Bell AH-1Z Viper

The Bell AH-1Z Viper is an American twin-engine attack helicopter, based on the AH-1W Super Cobra, that was developed for the United States Marine Corps as part of the H-1 upgrade program.

The AH-1Z features a four-blade, composite main rotor system, up rated transmission, and a new target sighting system.

The AH-1Z, one of the latest members of the prolific Bell Huey family, is also called “Zulu Cobra”, based on the military phonetic alphabet pronunciation of its variant letter.

The AH-1Z completed sea-trial flight testing in May 2005.

On 15 October 2005, the USMC, through the Naval Air Systems Command, accepted delivery of the first AH-1Z production helicopter to enter the fleet.

The AH-1Z and UH-1Y completed their developmental testing in early 2006.

During the first quarter of 2006 the aircraft were transferred to the Operational Test Unit at the NAS Patuxent River, where they began operational evaluation (OPEVAL) testing.

In February 2008, the AH-1Z and UH-1Y began the second and final portion of OPEVAL testing.

AH-1Z testing was stopped in 2008 due to issues with its targeting systems.

The AH-1Z was later declared combat-ready on 30 September 2010.





58 ft 3 in (17.75 m)


14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)

Empty weight

12,300 lb (5,579 kg)

Max take-off weight

18,500 lb (8,391 kg)


2 × General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft,

1,800 shp (1,300 kW) each

Main rotor diameter

48 ft (15 m)

Main rotor area

1,808 sq ft (168.0 m2) 4 bladed main and tail rotors


Cruise speed

160 kn (180 mph, 300 km/h)

Never exceed speed

222 kn (255 mph, 411 km/h)


370 nmi (430 mi, 690 km)

Combat range

125 nmi (144 mi, 232 km) with 2,500 lb (1,100 kg) payload

Service ceiling

20,000 ft (6,100 m)


Rate of climb

2,790 ft/min (14.2 m/s)



1 × 20 mm (0.787 in) M197 three barrelled rotary cannon in the A/A49E-7 turret

(750 round ammo capacity)


Up to 6 pylon stations on stub wings with a capacity of

5,764 lb (2,615 kg) maximum,


2.75 in (70 mm) Hydra 70


APKWS II rockets, Mounted in LAU-68C/A (7 shot)


LAU-61D/A (19 shot) launchers

(Up to 76 unguided or 28 guided rockets total)


AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, 1 mounted on each wing tip station

AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, Up to 16 missiles mounted in four 4 round M299 missile launchers, two on each wing.


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