Amercom ACHY28 USMC Bell AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopter - HMLAT-303 "Atlas," 2010 (1:72 Scale)
"We will carry out a campaign characterized by shock, by surprise, by flexibility ... and by the application of overwhelming force."
- CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks commenting on the conduct of Operation: Iraqi Freedom, March 21st, 2003
While the ubiquitous UH-1 "Huey" could perform a variety of roles, it was found to be too slow for the gunship or escort role. Bell Helicopter won the competition for an interim fast armed escort helicopter in March 1966, against the Sikorsky S-61 and the Kaman H-2 Tomahawk, while the Army was waiting for the fielding of the AAFSS AH-56A Cheyenne. The AAFSS program was cancelled in 1972.
Some early model AH-1G Cobras mounted either two M134 "Miniguns" or two M129 grenade launchers in a M28A1 chin-turret (TAT-141). Because of problems with the ammunition feed systems, the twin-gun configuration was discontinued. The Cobra was first employed to Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in August 1967. The Cobra's primary mission was to give fire support to troop carrying "Hueys". The AH-1G Cobra was powered by a single Lycoming T53-L-13 1400 shp turbine engine, and had a speed of 196 mph (170 knots), almost twice the speed of the UH-1 "Huey". The AH-1G Cobra used the M73 reflex sight. The Cobra performed it's job so well it was possible for the first time for "slicks" and gun ships to operated as true air cavalry.
Later models of the AH-1G Cobra, or "Snake", were armed with 2.75 inch (70mm) Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFARS) in M158 seven-tube or M200 19-tube rocket launchers, used so effectively at An Loc in 1972. The Cobra had a chin-turret on the M28/M28A1 armament subsystem. The chin-turret mounted the M134 7.62mm "Minigun" and the M129 40mm grenade launcher. The AH-1G could also be armed with the M134 "Minigun" in fixed side-mounting M18/M18A1 gun pod, and the port (left) side mounting M195 20mm automatic gun on the M35 armament subsystem. The AH-1G could also mount the XM118 smoke grenade dispenser.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USMC Bell AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopter that was attached to HMLAT-303 "Atlas," during 2010. Now in stock!
Release Date: April 2014
Historical Account: "Amalgamation" - The Israel Defence Force/Air Force (IDF/AF) amalgamated the Bell AH-1 Tsefa (Viper) equipped Fighting Family Squadron 161 with the First Attack Helicopter Squadron 160. A total of 27 Tsefa attack helicopters participated in the Fighting Family Squadron 161's amalgamation flypast on September 30th. The Fighting Family Squadron 161 was activated at Palmachim air base in 1985 as the second IDF/AF Tsefa outfit. From then on the two Tsefa units were known as the Southern Cobra Squadron 160 and the Northern Cobra Squadron 161 to indicate the respective location of the two outfits within the boundaries of Palmachim air base. The somewhat ridiculous Tsefa squadrons' names were recently changed. The Southern Cobra Squadron 160 became the First Attack Helicopter Squadron 160 during 2004 with the Northern Cobra Squadron 161 changing its title to the Fighting Family Squadron 161 in 2005 just prior to the amalgamtion of the Tsefa Force.
The IDF/AF Tsefa force amalgamtion has been accomplished in parallel with the introduction of the Boeing AH-64D-I Saraf (Serpent) from April 2005. Several of the Fighting Family Squadron 161's helicopters are to be re-assigned to the Ovda based Flying Dragon Squadron 115's Rotary-Wing Flight; the Flying Dragon Squadron 115 is the IDF/AF 'aggressor' unit. Also a few ex-Fighting Family Squadron 161 Tsefa helicopters are to be re-assigned to the IDF/AF Flying School's Attack Helicopter Pilots Advance Training Squadron that has been operating ex-US Army AH-1 helicopters since 1996.