Super Cobra AH-1W | The end of the era of the legendary helicopter for the US Marines – VIDEO
Defence Redefined
Published on 27/10/2020 at 18:00

The curtain has come down for a legendary helicopter of the US Marine Corps. Bell’s AH-1W Super Cobra has officially retired from the Marine Corps after three decades of service involving combat operations such as the “Desert Storm”, “Iraqi Freedom” in Iraq and “Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan. The successor to the Super Cobra will be the AH-1Z Viper which has already served with the AH-1W in the Marine Corps.

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The official withdrawal ceremony took place at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 14, 2020. As part of the ceremony, the last official flight of the AH-1W Super Cobra took place under the name “Whiskey Sundown Ceremony”. 

As the Marine Corps’ top attack helicopter, the history of the Super Cobra included 933,614 flight hours (as of August 2020), according to a service press release.

“The AH-1W Super Cobra has served admirably and leaves a remarkable legacy of on-time, on-target attack helicopter support for our Marines,” said Marine Colonel David Walsh, the manager for Light/Attack helicopter programs (PMA-276). 

“Although the AH-1W chapter is closing, the AH-1Z Viper stands ready with even greater capability to support our Marines for years to come. We are tremendously proud of the capabilities the AH-1W has brought to the US Marines for the past 34 years,” added Michael Deslatte, H-1 Bell Program Manager. 

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The legendary AH-1 twin-engine first flew in 1969 and was successfully used in the Vietnam War. The Super Cobra version was launched in 1986.

The AH 1W Super Cobra can fly in all weather conditions and uses a wide range of armaments such as the three-barrelled 20mm Gatling cannon XM197, 70mm Hydra rockets, 127mm Zuni rocket bombs, TOW missiles, Hellfire anti-tank missiles, Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and AGM-122 Sidearm air-to-ground (anti-radiation) missiles.

The upgrades of the AH-1W enabled it to gain night and infrared vision for all-weather day and night operations.

During the “Desert Storm” and “Desert Shield” operations, 48 ​​AH-1W destroyed 97 tanks, 104 personnel carriers and other vehicles, 16 fortified positions and two anti-aircraft arrays with zero losses!

Typically, the AH-1W and now the AH-1Z Vipers, are developed in parallel with the UH-1 in Marine ranks. These units specialize in close air support, reconnaissance and even air interception using Sidewinder.

It should be noted that according to, Turkey has previously procured 10 AH-1Ws and 32 from the US Army which were then upgraded to AH-1F. The Hellenic Air Force may consider the scenario of acquiring a number of Super Cobra, as was the case with the acquisition of the equipped Kiowa Warriors helicopters.

For information from:,

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