January 30, 2010:
The U.S. Marine Corps is buying a 8.5 pound (4 kg) Tactical Video Data Link device for its AH-1W helicopter gunships. This kind of data link is becoming standard for American combat aircraft, as it allows them to share video with other aircraft, including UAVs, and units on the ground.
The major user of the AH-1W, the U.S. Marine Corps, is in the process of remanufacturing its AH-1T/W attack helicopters into Z models. Most of these aircraft were originally manufactured in the 1970's, with some 44 AH-1W models built in the 1980's. The goal is to remanufacture 180 AH-1T/W attack helos into AH-1Z Vipers models. This upgrade will give the aircraft a new 4 bladed composite rotor system, transmission, strengthened structural components, and modern digital cockpit avionics. The first ones have recently entered service.