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