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military helicopters

AH-1Z Viper

The AH-1Z Viper is an advanced attack helicopter designed to replace the AH-1W Super Cobras in the United States Marine Corps (USMC)'s inventory. .

ah-1z viper
USMC AH-1Z Viper

With a 4-blade rotor system (main and tail), more powerful engines and sophisticated avionics, the AH-1Z Viper will be a significant upgrade over the AH-1W 'Whiskey Cobra' it will replace.

AH-1Z pilots and co-pilot/gunners wear a TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight and Display (HMD) that features a night vision system and can project data from the helicopter's FLIR and video sensors that are mounted in the chin onto the helmet's visor. The AH-1Z features a digital glass cockpit with 2 8x6 inch LCD multi-function displays (MFDs) and 1 4.2x4.2 inch LCD MFDs at each crew station. These displays interface with the helicopter's sensors, aircraft management ssystems, navigation systems and mission management systems.

U.S. DoD video produced by Sgt. Jason Fudge | released to public domain

The Viper carries the same selection of weapons as the AH-1W but in larger quantities. The helicopter carries a A/A49E-7 turret beneath its chin which holds the M197 3-barreled 20mm gatling gun.

The AH-1Z shares 84% of its core components with another USMC helicopter, the UH-1Y venom. Both the AH-1Z and UH-1Y are due to enter active service in 2011.

m197 gun on ah-1z
The AH-1Z's M197 20mm gun fires @ 730 rounds-per-minute. The Viper can carry up to 700 rounds.
ah-1z firing hellfire
An AH-1Z Viper fires a AGM 114 laser-guided Hellfire missile.
AH-1Z VENOM FEATURES
  • A/A49E-7 gun turret
  • Extended stub-wings with 6 hardpoints
  • FLIR / laser range finder turret
  • Stability Control Augmentation System assists with stable flight
  • Twin engines
  • 4-blade main and tail rotor system
  • Hinged composite rotor system
  • Night vision goggle (NVG) compatible glass cockpit

AH-1Z Viper Specifications

AH-1Z Viper helicopter
4 rotor blades, improved engines and longer stub-wings allow the AH-1Z to carry 16 Hellfire missiles - twice the amount that the AH-1W Super Cobra carries.
Crew Pilot, Co-pilot/gunner
Engines 2× General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshafts
Dimensions L - 17.8m
W (rotorspan) - 14.6m
H - 4.37m
Weights 5,580 kg (empty)
8,390 kg (max loadout)
Max Speed 411 kph
Range 648 km
Armament 1 x 20 mm M197 Gatling gun
Hydra 70 2.75inch rockets in LAU-68C/A (7 shot) or LAU-61D/A (19 shot) launchers
up to 16 AGM-114 in 4-round launchers
Avionics AVR-2A Laser Warning Receiver
APR-39A(v) 2 Radar Warning Receiver
ALE-47 “Smart” Countermeasures Dispenser
AAR-47 Missile Warning Device
BRITE Star thermal imaging and laser designation system
TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight and Display (HMD)
AN/ARC-210 radio, UHF/VHF communications
COMSEC
APX-100(V) IFF identification friend or foe
satellite communications interface
tactical data modem
automatic flight control system


AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter
A United States Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper undergoing testing.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher O'Quin) (Released)
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