The Bell AH-1Z Viper was designed as an improvement on the AH-1W SuperCobra in order to replace it as the new attack helicopter for the US Army’s US Marine Corps division. The Bell AH-1Z Viper was designed and manufactured being a part of the US Army’s H-1 Upgrade Program.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper presents a design of four-blade rotor system that is bearingless and has a main composite system along with an uprated transmission system that also is equipped with state of the art target sighting system.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is the part of the prolific family of Bell Huey and is nicknamed as Zulu Cobra taking the Z in its name.
For our readers today, we have gathered a few of the amazing facts about Bell AH-1Z Viper; the attack helicopter.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is the only attack helicopter in the US Army or for that matter in the history of the rotary-winged aircraft that is compatible to have a wide range of ordnance. At the moment, the Bell AH-1Z Viper is the only helicopter in the world that has the ability to be equipped with air-to-air missiles that are easily able to tackle of an attack from the air-to-ground anti-armor weapons. With this feature alone, the Bell AH-1Z Viper holds a special place in the army where it can be a great combat asset in multiple combat scenarios anywhere on the planet.
The front and the rear gals cockpit of the Bell AH-1Z Viper is nearly identical, which when equipped with its state of the art target identification and sight systems allow it to have the longest range at the highest possible accuracy for any other attack helicopter present in the world. The cockpit design coupled with its targeting systems allows the pilots of this attack helicopters to lock in on the enemy aircraft easily even before the enemy lays their eyes on the Bell AH-1Z Viper.
The cost for a single one of the Bell AH-1Z Viper is about 30 million dollars but it is very little considering the amazing firepower and the reduced maintenance costs over the course of its useful life.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper shares nearly 81 percent of its parts with the utility helicopter named Bell UH-1Y Venom. The parts that both these helicopters share are as follows.
- Survivability suites
The ability of the part is the sot important factor when it comes to the maintenance of a rotary-wing aircraft. With a steady supply of parts coupled with reduced maintenance costs, the Bell AH-1Z Viper is relatively one of the cheapest attack helicopters in the world.
Oh, did we forgot to mention that the training costs for the training of operators as well as maintainers of the Bell AH-1Z Viper are also considerably less compared to other attack Helicopters? Well, it is.
The one thing that no one is going to say about the Bell AH-1Z Viper is that the helicopter lacks firepower. Below we present to you a list of its payload confirmations.
- 2 of the Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
- 16 of the HELLFIRE air-to-ground missiles
- 28 of the APKWS (Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems guided rockets)
- 76 of the Mk-66 2.75” rockets
- An M-197 20 mm cannon that has nearly 6590 rounds of the lineless ammunitions
- auxiliary fuel tanks with a capacity of 77 gallons
The primary operator of the auxiliary fuel tanks is the US Army’s US Marine Corps division that uses this helicopter primarily for their close air support missions. Whenever the Marines need an attack helicopter for the roles of providing cover to their advance ground troops or are in need of providing an aerial escort to the landing zone, they call for the Bell AH-1Z Viper.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper with its precision armament and the awareness of the situation in a tactical manner is highly equipped to distinguish between a friend and a foe. In addition to this, the Bell AH-1Z Viper is also equipped with a new Data Transfer system that allows the aircraft with real-time information for the aerial reconnaissance and sends it to the Marine headquarters operating from the ground.
The very first of the Bell AH-1Z Viper was completed back in 2000 and is one of the Huey family attack helicopters that has been active in nearly every conflict of the US since the Vietnam War. One variant of the Bell AH-1Z Viper which is named as AH-1W aka the Zulu Cobra has completed its developmental testing back in 2006.
US Marine Corps has a contract with Bell Helicopters for delivery of nearly 189 of these Bell AH-1Z Vipers. Back in May of 2016, they received the delivery of 16 of these attack helicopters.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is powered by twin T700-GE-401C engines each of which generates a power of 1800 shp (Shaft Horse Power). This much power is able to propel the aircraft off the ground for a top speed of nearly 200 knots or 230 mph. as for the cruise speed of the helicopter, it is about 130 knots or 160 mph with a combat radius of nearly 131 Nautical Miles. As for the sideward and rearward flight speed of the helicopter, it is nearly 160 mph.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is one of the renowned helicopters in the US Army serving its US Marine Corps division. The UYS Marin Crops ahs to rely on aircraft that are equipped with amazing firepower payload capacity and the Bell AH-1Z Viper is the epitome of the attack helicopters in that regard. With its precision targeting systems coupled with its hellfire like weaponry, the helicopter can fulfill any attack roles along with doing escort or reconnaissance missions. The helicopter is going to serve the US Marine Corps for the foreseeable future as they still need to have a total of 189 Bell AH-1Z Vipers to be delivered to them as per heir contract with Bell Helicopters.