AH-1 Huey Cobra Helicopter

The development of the first attack helicopter grew out of experience with the modified armed utility helicopters. Bell Helicopter designed the AH-1 Cobra based on the best features of the U.S. Army UH-1 "Huey" to meet the Army's requirements for direct aerial fire support, armed escort, and reconnaissance.

AH-1W Super Cobra

Today in WW II: 11 May 1939 Japanese begin attempt to seize Mongolian land to the banks of the Khalkin Gol River at Nomonhan, clashing with Soviet troops. More 
11 May 1940 Belgian fortress Eben Emael, on the Meuse River, reputed to be the most formidable stronghold in the world, falls to German Army glider assault.
11 May 1940 Luxembourg falls to the German army.
11 May 1940 On the night of 11-12 May, 1940 the Royal Air Force [RAF] attacked Mönchengladbach, Germany, the first Allied air raid on Germany of WW II.
11 May 1943 American troops invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands, beginning campaign to expel occupying Japanese forces [11-29 May].
11 May 1944 Allied Fifth and Eighth Armies launch long-awaited offensive, finally capturing Cassino and breaking the German Gustav Line [night of 11-12 May].
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

AH-1 Huey Cobra Helicopter

The Huey Cobra (or just Cobra) uses the basic transmission, modified "540" rotor system, and power plant of the UH-1C, a streamlined fuselage using many parts in common with the UH-1D tail boom and body, combined with the nose components from the experimental Bell (Model 207) Sioux Scout. The Bell (Model 209) AH-1F was delivered in March 1965 and deployed to Vietnam starting in September 1967 to partly replace the UH-1 Huey in its gun ship capacity. The upgraded AH-1G Cobra featured a computerized stability-augmentation system, and was powered by a single Lycoming T53-L-13B 1400 shp engine.

The AH-1 Cobra is distinguished by its wide-bladed rotor and slim fuselage that give it twice the speed of the UH-1B "Huey" and the ability to loiter over the target area three times as long. Other improvements were the armament system and the tandem seating of the two crew members arranged in a 38 inch width, a much smaller target than the 100 inch wide UH-1 "Huey".

In addition to a 7.62mm machine gun, armament of the AH-1G Cobra, or "Snake", has had numerous options:

  • 2.75 inch (70mm) Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFARs) in M158 seven-tube or M200 19-tube rocket launchers
  • Chin-turret on the M28/M28A1 armament subsystem mounting the M134 7.62mm "Minigun" and the M129 40mm grenade launcher
  • Single M134 7.62mm "Minigun" in a XM64 (TAT-102) chin-turret
  • M134 7.62mm "Minigun" in fixed side-mounting M18/M18A1 gun pod
  • Port side mounted M195 20mm automatic gun on the M35 armament subsystem
  • M118 smoke grenade dispenser
  • TOW and Hellfire anti-armor missiles
  • Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles
  • Sidearm anti-radar missiles
  • Hydra 70 rockets

The Army utilized AH-1F, G, E, P and S Cobra models. The Marine Corps flew the AH-1G, AH-1J, and AT-1T, upgraded to the AH-1W Super Cobra in 1986.

AH-1W of the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Al Qaim, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, 17 November 2005
AH-1W of the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Al Qaim, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, 17 November 2005.

AH-1G.  U.S. Army Photo
AH-1G. U.S. Army Photo.

AH-1G.  U.S. Army Photo
AH-1G. U.S. Army Photo.

AH-1G Cobra.  Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
AH-1G Cobra. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

AH-1G Cobra with 4ID markings at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. This helicopter served in Vietham with the 11th ACR (Armored Cavalry Regiment) and was damaged in combat twice.  Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
AH-1G Cobra with 4ID markings at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. This helicopter served in Vietham with the 11th ACR (Armored Cavalry Regiment) and was damaged in combat twice. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.