This single engine AH-1 Cobra helicopter, also known as the Huey Cobra or Snake, was designed and produced by Bell Helicopters and utilized the same engine, transmission and rotor system as the Iroquois. The AH-1 Cobra served as the backbone of the US Army’s attack helicopters until it was later replaced with the AH-64 Apache. Attack helicopters circled over landing zones and provided necessary cover fire for safe insertion of the troops. The helicopter’s role became crucial during the Vietnam War as troops were widespread throughout Vietnam.
Brief History of the AH-1 Cobra
The first AH-1 Cobra took flight on September 7, 1965 and went into production soon after. The Huey Cobra was used by the Army throughout the Vietnam War to provide air support for the ground troops and to escort the transport helicopters. The AH-1 was also paired with the OH-6A Scout helicopter in what became known as a ‘hunter killer’ team. The OH-6A would fly in slow and low to detect enemy forces. If they were fired upon, the Huey Cobra could then hone in and fire on enemy forces.
Over 1,100 AH-1 Huey Cobra helicopters were built. The US Army recorded over one million flight hours in Vietnam in the AH-1 alone. The US Marine Corps also used the Cobras for a brief period of Vietnam prior to their acquisition of the AH-IJ twin engine Cobra. The US Army officially retired the AH-1 Cobra from active service in March of 1999 and from reserves in September of 2001. They offered the aircraft to NATO allies and the USDA Forest Service. The US Marine Corps continues to operate a variant of the AH-1 Cobra – the AH-1 W Super Cobra and the AH-1Z Viper.
- Crew: 2
- Maximum Take-Off Weight: 10,000 lbs.
- Maximum Speed: 172 miles per hour
- Rate of Climb: 1,620 feet per minute
Current Day Operators
The history of the Huey Cobra continues to be written as it is still being used by several countries todayl including Austria, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Bahrain, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and the United States. The AH-1 Cobra helicopters usee in the US have been adapted to fight forest fires for use by the US Forest Service and the Florida Division of Forestry.