Bell AH-1 SuperCobra is an American attack helicopter developed by Bell Helicopter Corporation in 1969.
The development of the military attack helicopter Bell AH-1 SuperCobra began to be carried out by American engineers and designers on special orders from the US Air Force. This was due to the fact that the main model of a U.S. Army attack helicopter and this is a Bell AH-1 Cobra combat aircraft, could not properly prove itself during the Vietnam War. Moreover, the pilots of the American helicopter often complained that the helicopter is very noisy, and in fact, as you approach the enemy, the enemy can attack the aircraft even before it is discovered, which led to dozens of destroyed cars.
Among other things, the helicopter did not have effective weapons, we are talking about the first models that we’re able to be tested in Vietnam, in particular, the ammunition was not always sufficient, and with long-term firing, the coaxial machine-gun mounts and the aircraft gun simply ceased to function, and therefore the helicopter was completely open for attack.
In 1967, American engineers began the first work on a project for the future helicopter, which, according to the plan, was to become an effective modification with a surprise factor and more powerful weapons. Two years later, the aircraft was first tested, and a few months later, but already in 1970, the project was launched into serial production.
At the design stage of the helicopter, its armor was significantly improved, and the likelihood that the aircraft would be shot down from small arms was minimal. Nevertheless, the additional armor heavily weighted the design of the Bell AH-1 SuperCobra helicopter, making it less maneuverable, however, the first tests conducted in Vietnam showed that the new machine is more advanced, although it had certain disadvantages.
The Bell AH-1 SuperCobra helicopter is equipped with the following weapons:
- 20 mm. automatic aircraft gun;
- 2 sets of unguided missiles;
- 2 missiles to combat air targets;
- 2 sets of anti-tank missiles.
With such weapons, a helicopter could effectively destroy enemy positions, however, due to the lack of machine-gun mounts, the fight against enemy manpower was ineffective.
The helicopter crew of the Bell AH-1 SuperCobra model consists of two people – a pilot and a gunner, and, because the model is a combat vehicle, it is not possible to transport people and any cargo on board the aircraft.
The power plant of the combat aircraft consists of one Pratt & Whitney Canada T400-CP-400 gas turbine engine, capable of developing a lifting force of 1800 hp. The maximum flight speed of the helicopter has increased and is 355 km \ h., While the maximum range of its flight has undergone virtually no changes.
- Bell AH-1J SeaCobra – the original version of the helicopter, equipped with two gas turbine engines;
- Bell AH-1J International – export version of the Bell AH-1J SeaCobra version;
- Bell AH-1T Improved SeaCobra – A modernized version of the helicopter with a number of technical additions;
- Bell AH-1W SuperCobra – modification equipped with a more efficient engine;
- Bell AH-1W Viper – an experimental prototype of a helicopter with a modified form of the main rotor;
- Bell AH-1Z Viper – A modernized version of a combat helicopter;
- Bell Model 309 King Cobra – an experimental all-weather version of the helicopter;
- Bell CobraVenom – the design version of the helicopter for the UK;
- Bell AH-1RO Dracula – design version of the helicopter for the Romanian Air Force;
- Bell AH-1Z King Cobra – A modification designed for the Turkish armed forces;
- Bell Panha 2091 – unlicensed version manufactured in Iran;
- Bell IAIO Toufan is an unlicensed version manufactured by Iran.
- Crew: 2 people;
- The length of the helicopter: 16.3 m. (Depending on version);
- Helicopter height: 4.1 m. (Depending on version);
- The diameter of the rotor: 13.4 m. (Depending on version);
- Empty helicopter mass: 3000 kg. (Depending on version);
- Maximum takeoff weight: 4540 kg. (Depending on version);
- Cruising speed: 265 km \ h. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight speed: 355 km \ h. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight range: 575 km. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight height: 3215 m.;
- Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney Canada T400-CP-400 (Depending on version);
- Power: 1800 HP (Depending on version).