AH-1Z "Zulu Cobra"

Welcome to POST 02! We will be covering a few more helicopters, before going into the era of the HUP retriever.

If you were lucky enough this weekend, you would have been onboard the USS America for LA Fleet Week 2016. The USS America is an amphibious assault ship, host to an assortment of deadly weapons, from the V-22 Osprey to the Seahawk, to the gloriously deadly AH-1Z Viper.

The Viper’s Nest

A further evolution of the AH-1W Super Cobra, the AH-1Z Viper can trace its lineage all the way back to the Vietnam War. The Viper is a four-bladed helicopter developed by Bell for the United States Marine Corps (Oorah). Vipers feature uprated transmission, composite rotor system, and a new target sighting system compared to its older Cobra configuration. Weapons include a M197 3-barreled Gatling cannon, Hydra-70 or APKWS II rockets, and can even carry Sidewinder or Hellfire missiles, depending on mission requirements.

The Viper finished sea-trial flights in 2005, and was accepted for delivery the same year. Further development testing was done in 2006. It finally became combat ready in 2010. 

Besides the Viper, the USS America carries other helicopter platforms as well. In our next posts we will be covering them as well, to give you guys a glimpse of the sort of modern hardware our military packs. We will also go back in time in future content to trace the lineage of these mighty weapons of war. Till next time!

-Johnny Wu
Pacific Battleship Center