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US Marine Corps ready to induct AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopters


The AH-1Z Cobra helicopter.

FORT WORTH, US (BNS): The US Marine Corps’ newest attack helicopter, AH-1Z Cobra, has successfully completed operational evaluation and is now ready for induction, its manufacturer Bell Helicopter has announced.

“We are pleased and proud that the AH-1Z has completed its operational evaluation,” John Garrison, president of Bell Helicopter, said after the company received official notification from the Navy's Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force that its AH-1Z helicopters were found to be “operationally effective and suitable” and were recommended for fleet introduction.

The US Marine Corps is replacing its two-bladed AH-1W choppers with the new AH-1Zs. The new Cobra helicopters are part of the US Marine Corps H-1 Upgrade Programme.

Featuring a new, four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit, the new aircraft has greater performance, supportability and growth potential over its predecessors, according to Bell.

Each AH-1Z Cobra can carry up to 16 AGM-114A, B, and C Hellfire and anti-tank missiles and an equal number of AGM-114F Hellfire anti-ship missiles besides a large number of other weapons like rockets and bombs.

Bell expects to produce and deliver a total of 189 AH-1Z helicopters by 2019.

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