AH-1Z Viper

AH-1Z Viper

:"For an overview of the whole Huey family of aircraft see Bell Huey"

Infobox Aircraft
name = AH-1Z Viper


caption= An USMC AH-1Z "Viper" undergoing testing at NAS Patuxent River
type = Attack helicopter
national origin = United States
manufacturer = Bell Helicopter
designer=
first flight = December 8, 2000
introduction = 2009
retired=
status= In development
primary user = United States Marine Corps
more users =
produced =
number built =
unit cost =
developed from = AH-1 SuperCobra
variants with their own articles =
The Bell AH-1Z Viper (also called "SuperCobra") is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, that was developed for the United States Marine Corps. The AH-1Z features a four-blade, bearingless, composite main rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system. [http://www.bellhelicopter.com/en/aircraft/military/bellAH-1Z.cfm Bell AH-1Z page] , Bell Helicopter, Retrieved 3 January 2008.]

Development

Aspects of the AH-1Z dates back to the Bell 249 in 1979, which was basically an AH-1S equipped with the four-blade rotor system from the Bell 412. This helicopter demonstrated Bell's "Cobra II" design at the Farnborough Airshow in 1980. The Cobra II was to be equipped with Hellfire missiles, a new targeting system and improved engines. Later came the Cobra 2000 proposal which included General Electric T700 engines and a four-blade rotor. This design drew interest from the US Marine Corps, but funding was not available. In 1993, Bell proposed an AH-1W-based version for the UK's new attack helicopter program. The derivative design, named "CobraVenom", featured a modern digital cockpit and could carry TOWs, Hellfire or Brimstone missiles. The CobraVenom design was altered in 1995 by changing to a four-blade rotor system. The design lost to the AH-64D later that year however.Donald, David. "Modern Battlefield Warplanes". AIRTime Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-880588-76-5.]

In 1996, the USMC launched the H-1 upgrade program by signing a contract with Bell Helicopter for upgrading 180 AH-1Ws into AH-1Zs and upgrading 100 UH-1Ns into UH-1Ys.Bishop, Chris. "Huey Cobra Gunships". Osprey Publishing, 2006. ISBN 1-84176-984-3.] The H-1 program created completely modernized attack and utility helicopters with considerable design commonality to reduce operating costs. The AH-1Z and UH-1Y share a common tail boom, engines, rotor system, drive train, avionics architecture, software, controls and displays for over 84% identical components.

Bell participated in a joint Bell-Government integrated test team during the engineering manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the H-1 program. The AH-1Z program progressed slowly from 1996 to 2003 largely as a research and development operation. The existing two-bladed semi-rigid, teetering rotor system is being replaced with a four-bladed, hingeless, bearingless rotor system. The improvement in flight characteristics provided by the four-bladed configuration has led to increases in flight envelope, maximum speed, vertical rate-of-climb, payload and rotor vibration level . [http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/supcobra/ AH-1W/AH-1Z Super Cobra Attack Helicopter, USA] , Airforce-Technology.com. Retrieved January 14 2008.]

The AH-1Z first flew on December 8, 2000. [ [http://www.helis.com/news/2000/ah1zff.htm "AH-1Z completes first flight"] , Bell Helicopter, December 7, 2000.] Three prototype aircraft were delivered to NAVAIR's Naval Air Station Patuxent River in July 2002 for the flight test phase of the program. Low-rate initial production followed beginning in October 2003, with deliveries to run through 2018. [ [http://pao.navair.navy.mil/press_releases/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.view&Press_release_id=3440&site_id=17 "AH-1Z/UH-1Y complete developmental testing"] , US Navy, March 6 2006.] On October 15 2005, the USMC, through the Naval Air Systems Command, accepted delivery of the first AH-1Z production helicopter to enter the fleet. [ [http://www.janes.com/aerospace/military/news/jhms/jhms051207_1_n.shtml "Bell 449 SuperCobra and KingCobra"] , Jane's Information Group, 7 December 2005.]

The AH-1Z completed sea-trial flight testing in May 2005. [ [http://pma276public.navair.navy.mil/pma276public/newsArticle.asp?itemID=37 "AH-1Z/UH-1Y complete first sea trials"] , US Navy, June 13 2005.] 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. [ [http://pao.navair.navy.mil/press_releases/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.view&Press_release_id=3485&site_id=17 "AH-1Z/UH-1Y Start OPEVAL"] , US Navy, May 6 2006.] In February 2008, Bell received a contract for the last 40 AH-1Zs to be built as new airframes instead of the previously planned rebuild of AH-1Ws. [Warwick, Graham. [http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/02/15/221550/bell-ah-1z-upgrade-to-switch-to-new-airframes.html "Bell AH-1Z upgrade to switch to new airframes"] , Flightglobal.com, 15 February, 2008.] Also that same month, the AH-1Z and UH-1Y began the second and final portion of OPEVAL testing. [Warwick, Graham. [http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/02/20/221714/pictures-us-marine-corps-bell-ah-1z-and-uh-1y-enter-final-test-phase.html "US Marine Corps' Bell AH-1Z and UH-1Y enter final test phase"] , Flightglobal.com, 20 February, 2008.]

Bell delivered a UH-1Y to the U.S. Marine Corps on February 26, 2008, for February's third H-1 Upgrade delivery. The previous February deliveries were an AH-1Z on February 8, and an UH-1Y on February 13. A full-rate production decision is expected later in 2008. [http://www.bellhelicopter.com/en/company/pressReleases/PR_08_0305_threeH-1Delivered.cfm "Bell H-1 upgrade program delivers two UH-1Y and one AH-1Z in February"] , Bell Helicopter, March 3, 2008.]

In September of 2008 the Navy, who procures aircraft for the Marine Corps, is going to propose adding 46 additional AH-1Zs bringing the total number ordered to 226. The additional aircraft will appear on the 2010 fiscal budget request.cite web
last =Trimble
first =Stephen
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =US Navy proposes more UH-1Ys, AH-1Zs despite test phase setback
work =
publisher =www.flightglogal.com
date =2008-08-22
url =http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/08/22/315087/us-navy-proposes-more-uh-1ys-ah-1zs-despite-test-phase.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-08-24
]

Design

The AH-1Z incorporates new rotor technology with upgraded military avionics, weapons systems, and electro-optical sensors in an integrated weapons platform. It has improved survivability and can find targets at longer ranges and attack them with precision weapons.

The AH-1Z's new bearingless, hingeless rotor system has 75% fewer parts than that of four-bladed articulated systems. The blades are made of composites, which have an increased ballistic survivability, and there is a semiautomatic folding system for stowage aboard Amphibious assault ships. Its two redesigned wing stubs are longer, with each adding a wing-tip station for a missile such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder. Each wing has two other stations for 2.75 in (70 mm) Hydra 70 rocket pods, or AGM-114 Hellfire quad missile launchers. The Longbow radar can also be mounted on a wing tip station.

The Z-model's integrated avionics system (IAS) has been developed by Northrop Grumman. The system include two mission computers and an automatic flight control system. Each crew station has two 8x6-inch multifunction liquid crystal displays (LCD) and one 4.2x4.2-inch dual function LCD display. The communications suite combines a US Navy RT-1824 integrated radio, UHF/VHF, COMSEC and modem in a single unit. The navigation suite includes an embedded GPS inertial navigation system (EGI), a digital map system and a low-airspeed air data subsystem, which allows weapons delivery when hovering.

The crew are equipped with the Thales "Top Owl" helmet-mounted sight and display system. The Top Owl has a 24-hour day/night capability and a binocular display with a 40° field of view. Its visor projection provides forward looking infrared (FLIR) or video imagery. The AH-1Z has survivability equipment including the Hover Infared Suppression System (HIRSS) to cover engine exhausts, countermeasure dispensers, radar warning, missile warning and laser warning systems.

The Lockheed Martin target sight system (TSS) incorporates a third-generation FLIR sensor. The TSS provides target sighting in day, night or adverse weather conditions. The system has various view modes and can track with FLIR or by TV.

Operators

;USA
* United States Marine Corps (180 on Order)

pecifications

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=copter
jet or prop?=prop

ref=Bell Specifications, [http://www.bellhelicopter.com/en/aircraft/military/pdf/AH1Z_PG_3-06_web.pdf Bell AH-1Z Pocket Guide] , Bell Helicopter, Retrieved 3 January 2008.] The International Directory of Military Aircraft, 2002-2003,Frawley, Gerard: "The International Directory of Military Aircraft", page 37. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2002. ISBN 1-875671-55-2.] Modern Battlefield Warplanes

crew=2: pilot, CPG (co-pilot/gunner)
capacity=6,661 lb (3,021 kg)
span main= 48 ft
span alt= 14.6 m
length main=58 ft 3 in
length alt=17.8 m
height main=14 ft 4 in
height alt=4.37 m
area main= 1,808 ft²
area alt= 168.0 m²
empty weight main=12,300 lb
empty weight alt=5,580 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
useful load main=5,764 lb
useful load alt=2,620 kg
max takeoff weight main=18,500 lb
max takeoff weight alt=8,390 kg
engine (prop)=General Electric T700-GE-401C
type of prop=turboshaft
number of props=2
power main=1,800 shp
power alt=1,340 kW
more general=Rotor systems: 4 blades on main rotor, 4 blades on tail rotor
max speed main=160 kn
max speed alt=184 mph, 296 km/h
cruise speed main= 134 kn
cruise speed alt= 150 mph, 248 km/h
never exceed speed main= 222 knots
never exceed speed alt= 255 mph, 411 km/h
range main=370 nmi
range alt=426 mi, 685 km
range more=
combat radius main=125 nmi
combat radius alt=144 mi, 231 km
combat radius more=with 2,500 lb (1,130 kg) payload
ferry range main=
ferry range alt=
ceiling main=20,000+ ft
ceiling alt=6,100+ m
climb rate main=2,790 ft/min
climb rate alt=14.2 m/s
loading main=
loading alt=
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
armament=
* M197 3-barreled 20 mm "Gatling-style" cannon in the A/A49E-7 turret (750 rounds ammo capacity)
* 2.75 in (70 mm) Hydra 70 rockets - Mounted in LAU-68C/A (7 shot) or LAU-61D/A (19 shot) launchers
* AGM-114 Hellfire Missiles - Up to 8 missiles mounted in two 4-round M272 missile launchers, one on each outboard hardpoint
* AIM-9 Sidewinder Anti-Aircraft Missiles - 1 mounted on each wing tip station (total of 2)

ee also

aircontent
related=
* AH-1 SuperCobra
* AH-1 Cobra
* Bell YAH-63
* UH-1Y Venom
similar aircraft=
* AH-64 Apache
* Mi-28
* Mi-35
* Eurocopter Tiger
* WZ-10
* Agusta A129 Mangusta
lists=
* List of attack aircraft
* List of helicopters
* List of active military aircraft of the United States
see also=
* U.S. Helicopter Armament Subsystems, AH-1

References

External links

* [http://www.bellhelicopter.textron.com/en/aircraft/military/bellAH-1Z.cfm AH-1Z page on Bell Helicopter Textron web site]
* [http://acquisition.navy.mil/programs/air/ah_1z AH-1Z Viper page on US Navy RDA site]
* [http://pma276public.navair.navy.mil/pma276public/history.asp#14 AH-1Z / UH-1Y on U.S. Navy PMA-276 site]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/ah-1z.htm AH-1Z page on GlobalSecurity.org]
* [http://www.helis.com/Since80s/h_ah1z.php Bell AH-1Z Super Cobra - Bell 449 on helis.com]
* [http://hqinet001.hqmc.usmc.mil/p&r/concepts/2007/PDF/Chapter%203/Part%203/C&P2007Chap3%20Part3%20Aviation%20Combat%20Element%20Pg183%20H-1%20Upgrade%20Program%20(UH-1Y%20AH-1Z).pdf H-1 Upgrade Program (UH-1Y/AH-1Z)] , U.S. Marine Corps, 2007.
* [http://www.bellhelicopter.com/en/company/pressReleases/PR_060929_1230_H1Rollout.cfm "First Production H-1 Helicopters Rollout"] , Bell Helicopter, September 27, 2006
* [http://pma276public.navair.navy.mil/pma276public/newsArticle.asp?itemID=38 "New H-1s reach 3,000 hrs, prep for OpEval"] , U.S. Marine Corps, June 13, 2005.
* [http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=5276 " AH-1Z Super Cobra Completes Envelope Expansion Testing"] , U.S. Navy, January 9 2003.


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