Marines: January 6, 2001


Bell Helicopter Textron has rolled out the first of what will be 180 AH-1Z Super Cobras for the Marine Corps. These are being converted from existing AH-1Ws. Each aircraft costs $11.3 million and takes 13 months to convert. The new version can carry 16 Hellfire-II anti-tank missiles, two Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and a 20mm gatling gun with 750 rounds of ammunition. As part of the same program, 100 older UH-1Hs will be converted into UH-1Ys. The two aircraft will then use the same cockpit instruments, engines, and rotor blades, simplifying maintenance in the fleet. The Marines expect to be flying the AH-1Zs at least until 2020.--Stephen V Cole 


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