The Bell AH-1 Cobra is a two-blade, single-engine attack helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter.
Bell AH-1G Cobra
Design and development
Closely related to the development of the Bell AH-1 is the story of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois—icon of the Vietnam War and one of the most numerous helicopter types built. The UH-1 made the theory of air cavalry practical, as the new tactics called for US forces to be highly mobile across a wide area. Unlike before, they would not stand and fight long battles, and they would not stay and hold positions. Instead, the plan was that the troops carried by fleets of UH-1 "Hueys" would range across the country, to fight the enemy at times and places of their own choice.
It soon became clear that the unarmed troop helicopters were vulnerable against ground fire from Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops, particularly as they came down to drop their troops in a landing zone. Without friendly support from artillery or ground forces, the only way to pacify a landing zone was from the air, preferably with an aircraft that could closely escort the transport helicopters, and loiter over the landing zone as the battle progressed. By 1962 a small number of armed UH-1As were used as escorts, armed with multiple machine guns and rocket mounts.
The massive expansion of American military presence in Vietnam opened a new era of war from the air. The linchpin of US Army tactics was the helicopters, and the protection of those helicopters became a vital role
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During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Gulf War (1990–91), the Cobras and SuperCobras deployed in a support role. The USMC deployed 91 AH-1W SuperCobras and the US Army 140 AH-1 Cobras of various models; these were operated from forward, dispersed desert bases. Three AH-1s were lost in accidents during fighting and afterward. Cobras destroyed many Iraqi armored vehicles and various targets in the fighting. AH-1T Cobras were deployed for Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of Grenada in 1983, flying close-support and helicopter escort missions, two of the four available lost to anti-aircraft fire while attacking Fort Frederick. Army Cobras participated in Operation Just Cause, the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989
Bell AH-1G Cobra
The AH-1 was the backbone of the United States Army's attack helicopter fleet, but has been replaced by the AH-64 Apache in Army service. Upgraded versions continue to fly with the militaries of several other nations. The AH-1 twin-engine versions remain in service with United States Marine Corps (USMC) as the service's primary attack helicopter. Surplus AH-1 helicopters have been converted for fighting forest fires.
Role Attack helicopter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter
First flight 7 September 1965
Status In service
Primary users United States Army (historical)
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Republic of Korea Army
Royal Jordanian Air Force
Bell AH-1G Cobra
It was developed using the engine, transmission and rotor system of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois. A member of the prolific Huey family, the AH-1 is also referred to as the HueyCobra or Snake.