Bell AH-1Z Viper

The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a modern version of the first ever attack helicopter, the AH-1 Cobra. It is also called Zulu Cobra in reference to its variant letter. Since its introduction in the mid 1960s the original Cobra has been constantly improved and upgraded. The latest AH-1Z Viper is a result of H-1 helicopter upgrade program for the US Marine Corps. It was launched by the US Government in 1996 and has been won the Bell helicopter company. It is worth noting that the Viper was developed alongside the UH-1Y Venom transport helicopter under the same program.

UH-1Y Venom: Details


The AH-1Z Viper is a direct derivative of the AH-1W Super Cobra. It is one of the most powerful, capable and advanced helicopters, flying today. The AH-1Z made its first flight back in 2000. It was introduced to the US Marine Corps in 2010. Full scale production commenced in 2012. Marines plan to receive a total of 189 Vipers until 2019. These include 131 AH-1W upgraded into AH-1Z and 58 newly built AH-1Z helicopters. In 2015 it was announced that 12 of these gunships will be delivered to Pakistan.

AH-1W Super Cobra


AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter was developed by Bell for the US Marine Corps (USMC). It evolved form the AH-1T and follows the general outlines of the AH-1 Cobra. The Super Cobra was adopted by the USMC in 1986 and is still in service. This gunship was used during the Persian Gulf War. A total of 48 AH-1W attack helicopters were used during that war. These gunships destroyed 97 tanks, 104 armored personnel carriers, 16 bunkers and 2 anti-aircraft sites. Not a single USMC helicopter was lost during that war.

The main role of this attack helicopter is to provide close in fire support for landing forces during amphibious assaults and subsequent land operations. It also escorts transport helicopters with troops.


   The Super Cobra has a slim fuselage with a fighter-type cockpit. The pilot sits high in the rear with a co-pilot/gunner lower in the front directing the fire of a wide range of weapons mounted on lateral stub wings or under the nose. The front seat also has a full set of flight controls. The cockpit is surrounded by armor protection.

The AH-1W Super Cobra can fly and provide fire support in both day and night environment. Its avionics, engines and weapons were substantially upgraded comparing with the previous version. It is fitted with a night targeting system, which includes a Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR), low-light TV camera, laser rangefinder and an autotrack system.


Country of origin United States
Entered service 1986
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 13.87 m
Main rotor diameter 14.63 m
Height 4.32 m
Weight (empty) 4.6 t
Weight (maximum take off) 6.69 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x General Electric T700-GE-401 turboshafts
Engine power 2 x 1 725 shp
Maximum speed 282 km/h
Cruising speed ~ 250 km/h
Service ceiling 3.72 km
Range 587 – 635 km
Machine guns 1 x three-barreled 20-mm cannon (750 rounds)
Missiles 8 x TOW or Hellfire anti-tank missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, AGM-122 Sidearm anti-radiation missiles, provision for AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles
Other various pods with unguided rockets, cluster munitions, napalm bombs


Bell Helicopter announces half-billion dollar contract: Here


The Z-model’s integrated avionics system (IAS) has been developed by Northrop Grumman. The system includes two mission computers and an automatic flight control system. Each crew station has two 8×6-inch multifunction liquid crystal displays (LCD) and one 4.2×4.2-inch dual function LCD display. The communications suite combines a US Navy RT-1824 integrated radio, UHF/VHF, COMSEC and modem in a single unit. The navigation suite includes an embedded GPS inertial navigation system (EGI), a digital map system and Meggitt’s low-airspeed air data subsystem, which allows weapons delivery when hovering. Insider

The crew are equipped with the Thales “Top Owl” helmet-mounted sight and display system. The Top Owl has a 24-hour day/night capability and a binocular display with a 40° field of view. Its visor projection provides forward looking infrared (FLIR) or video imagery. The AH-1Z has survivability equipment including the Hover Infrared Suppression System (HIRSS) to cover engine exhausts, countermeasure dispensers, radar warning, incoming/on-way missile warning, and on-fuselage laser spot warning systems.


The Lockheed Martin Target Sight System (TSS) incorporates a third-generation FLIR sensor. The TSS provides target sighting in day, night, or adverse weather conditions. The system has various view modes and can track with FLIR or by TV. The same system is also used on the KC-130J Harvest HAWK.  Source

Upgrades of the AH-1Z included implementation of state-of-the-art weapons and digital technology to respond to modern demands for contemporary warfare. The Viper features outstanding flying and combat capabilities.

2 x General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines


The T700 engine was designed for the US Army’s UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter as a result of lessons learned in Vietnam. The key requirements of this engine were reliability, operation under adverse environmental conditions and low maintainability.
The T700-GE-401 engine was the first engine qualified, under US Navy’s rigorous salt ingestion tests, suitable for shipboard operations. This engine was selected to power AH-1Z/W and UH-1Y among other naval helicopters. Source


The AH-1Z has essential changes in propulsion. It is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines and has uprated transmission. One of the main external differenced from the AH-1W is a composite 4-bladed main rotor, instead of the previous 2-bladed rotor. It reduced vibrations by up to 70 percent. It is worth noting that a 2-bladed rotor was a distinctive feature of all previous Bell helicopter models. However due to these changes flying characteristics improved a lot.

Bell_AH-1Z_Viper_168003_0134-bladed main rotor Bearingless, hingeless rotor system – Image:

Despite all improvements and upgrades appearance of the AH-1Z remains the same. Pilot is seated at the rear and co-pilot/gunner at the front. Layout of two integrated digital cockpits is identical and all systems are duplicated.


This helicopter uses off-the-shelf electronic systems. It can operate in day, night, or adverse weather conditions. It has night vision twinned with infrared and new target search and acquisition software. It permits Viper to find and engage targets at long range. It can be fitted with Longbow fire control radar, mounted on wingtip station. Also there is automatic flight control station.

The AN/APG-78 Longbow fire control radar can also be mounted on a wing tip station



The LONGBOW FCR has a very low probability of intercept. It rapidly and automatically searches, detects, locates, classifies, and prioritizes multiple moving and stationary targets on land, water and in the air in all weather and battlefield conditions from standoff ranges. Target coordinates are automatically available to other sensors and weapons for target confirmation, rapid engagement, and reduced fratricide. Target data is digitally available through the data modem for real-time transfer to other platforms and command posts. The self-contained Radar Frequency Interferometer provides rapid and accurate identification and azimuth to enemy air defense units. High system reliability and two-level maintenance maximize operational availability and reduce support costs. Source


Notable equipment on the AH-1Z are the Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-30 TSS Hawkeye EO/IR fire control system, the Thales TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight and Display System, the AN/ARC-210 Digital Communication System, and the Raytheon AN/APX-100 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) transponder.

Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-30 TSS Hawkeye EO/IR fire control system – Target Sight System (TSS)


The Target Sight System (TSS) is the multi-sensor electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) fire control system (AN/AAQ-30A) for the U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z attack helicopter. TSS has an infrared pointer, large-aperture mid-wave infrared (MWIR) sensor, color TV, laser designator/rangefinder (with eye-safe mode) and an on-gimbal inertial measurement unit integrated into a highly stabilized turret. The turret mounts to the nose of the aircraft via the Lockheed Martin-developed aircraft interface structure. TSS’ advanced sensors provide pilots with enhanced capabilities to acquire, track and designate targets at maximum weapon range, significantly enhancing platform survivability and lethality.



  • Large aperture MWIR with four fields-of-view for maximum image resolution and long-range performance
  • Highly stabilized and inertially isolated gimbal for precise line-of-sight pointing
  • Multi-mode multi-target tracker for precision weapon designation and target geo-location
  • Advanced image processing to enhance target identification at extended ranges
  • High magnification, continuous zoom, color TV with field-of-view matched to the MWIR
  • Versatile modular architecture for future growth


General data:
Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 55.6 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Infrared, 3rd Generation Imaging (2000s/2010s, Impr LANTIRN, Litening II/III, ATFLIR)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
Sensors / EW:
AN/AAQ-30 Hawkeye TSS – Infrared
Role: Infrared, Weapon Director & Target Search, Tracking and Identification Camera
Max Range: 55.6 km

Laser Designator

General data:
Type: Laser Designator Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 18.5 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Not Applicable (N/A)
Sensors / EW:
Generic Laser Designator – (Surface Only) Laser Designator
Role: Laser Target Designator & Ranger (LTD/R)
Max Range: 18.5 km

Thales “Top Owl” helmet-mounted sight and display system


Raytheon AN/APX-100 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) transponder


Transponder Set AN/APX-100(V) provides a complete diversity Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system in a small lightweight component package. It receives pulsed radio frequency interrogation signals in any of six modes and transmits a pulse-coded reply in the appropriate mode. The transponder set operates in modes 1, 2, 3/A, C, 4, and Test and provides identification and emergency reply codes in accordance with DOD-AIMS 65-100. For mode 4 operation, the system in compatible with both KIT-1A/TSEC and KIT-1C/TSEC computers. The system incorporates a built-in test (BIT) which provides a rapid verification of the status of the unit.

The difference between various models of AN/APX-100(V) equipments are primarily in voltage and color of the panel lamps. There is one exception in the RT-1157.


  • Weight: 1.76 lbs.
  • Height: 5.25″
  • Width: 5.75″
  • Length: 3.64″


The primary navigation system is the CN-1689(V)2/ASN Embedded GPS/INS supported by the AN/ARN-153(V) TACAN System and DF-301E VHF/UHF Direction Finder.

AN/ARN-153(V) TACAN System


The TCN-500 (AN/ARN-153(V)) is the new technology airborne Receiver-Transmitter (RT) component of the Tactical Airborne Navigation (TACAN) system that replaces the ARN-118. Just like its predecessor, the TCN-500 RT measures the slant-range distance and relative bearing to a selected ground station or an airborne beacon and computes velocity and time-to-go to that station. It has a flight inspection configuration for ground station parametric measurement, is totally self-contained and requires no additional external measuring equipment.

The TCN-500 has been successfully installed in cargo, fighter, bomber, trainer and rotary wing aircraft for US military services and for militaries around the world. It has been especially popular for aircraft avionics upgrade applications.

Features & Benefits

  • Digital (and optional analog) outputs for both distance and bearing
  • Available 1553 capability (both input and output functions)
  • Available GPS/INS analog instrument drive capability
  • Dual antenna ports – manual or automatic selection
  • Pilot selectable (manual or 1553) air-to-air range ratio capability
  • 390-nmi range computation capability
  • Inverse Mode Bearing computation capability (bearing to DME-only ground station)
  • Signal-controlled search
  • Solid-state 500-watt transmitter
  • ARINC 568, 582, and 429 compatible outputs
  • Enhanced synchro instrument drive capability
  • Enhanced BIT
  • Full military environment
  • W and Z channels for MLS (initial approach mode) compatibility
  • Available self-contained flight inspection capability
  • “Drop In” ARN-118 replacement when used with appropriate retrofit mount


Frequency Control: Serial, digital, MIL-STD-1553B optional

Number of Channels: 252 (126X and 126Y) provision made for W and Z channels

Frequency Range: Receiver 962 to 1213 MHz; transmitter 1025 to 1150 MHz

Reliability: Predicted mean time between failure of 11,000 hours for airborne inhabited cargo at 35 degrees C and 2,700 hours for airborne rotary wing at 55 degrees C.

Distance Range: 0.390 miles

Distance Accuracy/Digital: +/- 0.1 mi

Distance Accuracy/Analog: +/- 0.2 mi

Distance Acquisition Time: 2 sec, 2 sigma probability

Distance Memory: 15 sec +/- 2

Bearing Accuracy/Digital: +/- 0.5 deg

Bearing Accuracy/Analog: +/- 1.5 deg

Bearing Acquisition Time: 5 sec, 2 sigma probability

Bearing Memory: 3 sec nominal

Transmitter Power: 500 W minimum

Receiver Sensitivity: -89 dBm (-93 dBm at minimum of bearing modulation)

Physical Specs

Width: 104.9 mm (4.13 in)

Height: 172.2 mm (6.78 in)

Length/Depth: 304.8 mm (12.00 in)

Weight: 6.48 kg (14.3 lb)


Input Power: 28V DC, 1.5A nominal

Power Transients: MIL-STD-704C


Operational Temperature: -54°C to +71°C

Storage Temperature: -62°C to +95°C

Altitude: 70,000 ft

Vibration: 0.04 g*g/Hz functional; 0.12 g*g/Hz endurance

Service Shock: 15g

Crash Safety: 30g

EMI: MIL-STD-461A, notice 3


avionic_bayAvionics bay

Aircraft countermeasures include the AN/APR-39A Radar Warning Receiver, AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System, AN/AVR-2A Laser Warning System, and the BAE Systems AN/ALE-47 Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System.  Avionics/Countermeasures Source

AN/APR-39A Radar Warning Receiver

01apr39AN/APR-39A (V)2 – Image:
General data:
Type: ESM Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 222.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 2000s
Sensors / EW:
Role: RWR, Radar Warning Receiver
Max Range: 222.2 km

AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System

images (1)

The AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System is aMissile Approach Warning system used on slow moving aircraft such as helicopters and military transport aircraft to notify the pilot of threats and to trigger the aircraft’scountermeasures systems. Its main users are theU.S Army, Navy and Air Force, but is also operated by other countries. Originally developed by Loral (now part of BAE Systems), it has been solely a product of Alliant Techsystems(ATK) since 2002.

Method of Operation

The AN/AAR-47 passively detects missiles by theirUltraviolet signature, and uses algorithms to differentiate between incoming missiles and false alarms. Newer versions also have laser warning sensors and are capable of detecting a wider range of threats. After processing the nature of the threat, the system gives the pilot an audio and visual warning, and indicates the direction of the incoming threat. It also sends a signal to the aircraft’s infrared countermeasures system, which can then for example deploy flares.


The AAR-47 missile warning system consists of 4 Optical Sensor Converters (OSC), a Computer Processor and a Control Indicator. The system is relatively light at a total weight of approximately 32 pounds.

There is one optical sensor converter for each side of the aircraft. They have an infrared camera for detecting incoming missiles. The Optical modules since version AAR-47(V)2 include a laser warning sensor, and versions since AAR-47A(V)2 further incorporate an ultraviolet sensor for improved dynamic blanking laser warning detection.

The computer processor evaluates the data from the OSC:s and analyzes whether a detected event is an incoming missile. If a threat is detected, it sends a signal to the control indicator which informs the crew, and the aircraft’s infrared countermeasures system. Source

ah1z-6AN/APR-39A Radar Warning Receiver & AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System
General data:
Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 9.3 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 2000s
Properties: Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
Sensors / EW:
AN/AAR-47A(V)2 – (2007) Infrared
Role: MAWS, Missile Approach Warning System
Max Range: 9.3 km

AN/AVR-2A Laser Warning System


The AN/AVR-2A is a passive laser warning system which receives, processes and displays threat information resulting from aircraft illumination by laser designators, range finders and beam riding missiles. The threat information is displayed on the AN/APR-39A(V)1 Radar Detecting Set indicator in the cockpit. The AN/AVR-2A LDS is derived from the basic AN/AVR-2 LDS through the incorporation of several engineering change proposals (ECPs). These ECPs include: incorporation of the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System-Air-to-Ground Engagement System interface; incorporation of a removable user data module to the comparator interface to permit a means to apply software changes and system declassification; and increased Band III sensitivity for improved threat detection performance. The AN/AVR-2A LDS consists of one interface unit comparator and four identical sensor units. The total system weight is 21 pounds.


The AN/AVS-2B(V) was derived from the system developed for the Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche. Goodrich claimes it is 40% smaller, 45% lighter (i.e. approx. 2,5 pounds (1,5 kg) per sensor) and uses 45% less power than the previous AN/AVR-2A(V) version . The system provides increased functionality for threat detection and data interface and has demonstrated a 500% improvement in reliability. The model was introduced into service in 2004. Source

General data:
Type: ESM Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 18.5 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 1990s
Sensors / EW:
Role: LWR, Laser Warning Receiver
Max Range: 18.5 km

BAE Systems AN/ALE-47 Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System

AN/ALE-47 dispenser and associated equipment

In response to automated warnings of radar, infrared, laser and other threats against aircraft, the AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System (CMDS) both assists the crew in staying aware of the threats, and managing the deployment of electronic warfare devices that operate externally to the vehicle. “Electronic”, in this context, covers enemy sensors across the electromagnetic spectrum. Electronic defense includes, as well as receivers and computers that detect and analyze threats, both countermeasures that are part of the aircraft, but also expendables that are released from it.

In other words, it both acts as an electronics countermeasures suite controller and as an electronic warfare expendables dispenser. It replaces the AN/ALE-39. Alternatively, it can be controlled by other control systems, such as the AN/ALQ-213.  Source Countermeasures Dispenser System (CMDS) –

Armament of the Viper is very flexible. It is enhanced by helmet-mounted sight and display system. The AH-1Z carries about 2 t of various weapons on stub-wings. Typically it carries AGM-114A/B/C Hellfire anti-tank missiles (up to 16) and pods with 70-mm unguided rockets. The Viper can be also fitted with AGM-114F Hellfire anti-ship missiles, free-fall bombs, including the Mk.77 incendiary bombs. It can also carry two fire-and-forget AIM-9 Sidewinder supersonic air-to-air missiles with infrared target detection. These a mounted on wing tip stations. Also there is a 20-mm three-barrel cannon.


Main Gun: 1x General Dynamics M197 20mm three-barreled gatling gun with 750 rounds (in A/A49E-7 turret).
Weapons Carried: 16x AGM-114 Hellfire missiles in 4x M272 four-round missile launchers (two on each wing);
2x AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (AIM-9X projected); 4x LAU-61 19-tube Rocket Pods for 2.75″ (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets;
or 4x LAU-68 7-tube Rocket Pods for 2.75″ (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets.

1x General Dynamics M197 20mm three-barreled gatling gun


The M-197 produced by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems is a lightweight, three-barrel version of the M61A1 Gatling gun intended for applications that require a lightweight, highly reliable weapon capable of firing up to 1,500 shots per minute.

The gun is specifically designed for helicopters, light fixed-wing aircraft and small naval attack vessels. It is adaptable for turret, pod, pintle or internal installations using either linked or linkless ammunition feed systems. Currently, the M-197 arms the Marine Corps AH-1J, AH-1T, AH-1W and AH-1Z. The M-197 is also used in the GPU-2/A 20mm gun pod.

Power requirements for the M-197 are lower than most weapons offering comparable rates of fire due to the M-197’s continuous rotary motion. The M-197 is also capable of firing longer burst lengths than its competitors.


Gun type Three-barrel, 20mm, externally powered Gatling gun
Weight 132 pounds (60 kg)
Rate of fire Up to 1,500 shots per minute
Dispersion 5 milliradians diameter, 80 percent circle
Muzzle velocity 8.0 milliradians diameter, 80 percent circle (M50)
Average recoil force 1,300 pounds (5.8 kN)
Feed system Linked or linkless
Drive system Hydraulic, electric, pneumatic


A/A49E-7 turret

400px-M197VulcanAH-1Z_“Viper”20 mm (0.787 in) M197 3-barreled Gatling cannon in the A/A49E-7 turret

16 x AGM-114 Hellfire missiles in 4x M272 four-round missile launchers


AIM-9M Sidewinder missile

Sidewinder AIM-9M

The Lima was followed in production in 1982 by the AIM-9M, which is essentially an improved AIM-9L. The Mike has improved background rejection, counter-countermeasures capability and a low smoke motor to reduce the visual signature of the inbound weapon. The AIM-9M has the all-aspect capability of the AIM-9L model, but provides all-around higher performance. The M model has infra-red countermeasures, enhanced background discrimination capability, and a reduced-smoke rocket motor. Deliveries of the initial AIM-9M-1 began in 1982. The only changes from the AIM-9L to the AIM-9M were related to the Raytheon Guidance Control Section (GCS). Several models were introduced in pairs with even numbers designating US Navy versions and odd for US Air Force. All AIM-9M GCS are comprised of three major assemblies; a seeker assembly for detecting and tracking the target; an electronics assembly for processing detected target information; and a servo assembly that transforms electrical tracking signals to mechanical movement of the fins. An umbilical cable assembly provides electrical interface between the missile GCS and the aircraft launcher. The umbilical I-3 cable also allows the flow of coolant from the LAU-7 to the missile GCS. AIM-9M GCS versions include the WGU-4A/B used in the AIM-9M-1 and AIM-9M-3, the WGU-4C/B used in the AIM-9M-4, the WGU-4D/B used in the AIM-9M-6, and the WGU-4E/B GCS used in the AIM-9M-8. The WGU-4E/B GCS uses advanced technology that has evolved through the WGU-4D/B development, while expanding the potential of the IRCM detection circuitry and improving the missile’s capability with respect to tactical IRCM deployment. Source

4 x LAU-61 19-tube Rocket Pods for 2.75″ (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets

Bell_AH-1Z_Viper_168003_018AGM-114 Hellfire quad missile launchers and 2.75-inch (70 mm)  Hydra 70 rocket pods -Image:

4 x LAU-68 7-tube Rocket Pods for 2.75″ (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets


Hydra 70 rockets


APKWS II rockets


The upgrading of the standard 2.75″ rocket into APKWS using the plug-in assembly.This design proved superior to nose mounted seekers, as it offered important advantages, such as easier ‘plug in’ integration of the new system (without the need to move or change the warhead). Fiber-optic cables, enabling fast and reliable connectivity, link the seekers to the processor. With no modifications to the rocket (except for the addition of ‘plug-in’ guidance kit), the firing platform or fire control/launcher systems also remain intact, supporting the new precision fires capability.
In 2009 the Navy selected BAE Systems as a prime contractor for the weapon’s development and Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) and, by mid 2012 approved the program for full rate production. To date BAE Systems delivered more than 5,000 rockets; more than 100 were used in combat, particularly by the US Marine corps in Afghanistan. Following the endorsement of the US services, the Pentagon has made the APKWS rocket available for export under the foreign military sales (FMS) process. Source



  • Length: 73.8 in (1.87 m)
  • Diameter: 2.75 in (70 mm)
  • Wingspan: 9.55 in (24.3 cm)
  • Weight: 32 lb (15 kg)
  • Speed: 1,000 m/s (3,600 km/h; 2,200 mph; Mach 2.9) at max
  • Range: 1,100–5,000 m (0.68–3.11 mi) (rotary wing); 2–11 km (1.2–6.8 mi) (fixed wing)
  • Guidance: Semi-active laser homing
  • CEP: <0.5 meters
  • Motor: Existing Hydra 70 motors
  • Warhead: Existing Hydra 70 warheads


US Navy tests JAGM missile on AH-1Z: Here

Joint Air to Ground Missile (JAGM)

The Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) is a U.S. military program to develop an air-to-surface missile to replace the current air-launched BGM-71 TOW, AGM-114 Hellfire and AGM-65 Maverick missiles. The US Army, Navy and Marine Corps plan to buy thousands of JAGMs. Source



(Multi-Mode JAGM with Hellfire Missile Bus)

Range 0.3 to 4.9+ miles/0.5 to 8+km
Guidance Multi-Mode SAL/MMW
Warhead Multi-purpose, cockpit-selectable, tandem, shaped charge, blast fragmentation
Weight 112 lbs/50.8 kg
Length 70 inch/177.8 cm
Diameter 7 inch/17.8 cm


A number of improvements were made to survivability and crashworthiness of the helicopter. It is fitted with infrared suppression system which covers engine exhausts, laser and radar warning systems, and radar jammer. It also has smart countermeasures dispenser with missile warning device.

Latest airframe technologies were implemented, such as crashworthy seats, energy absorbing landing gear, self-sealing fuel tanks and fuel systems and fuel vapor inerting systems.

Fuselage of the helicopter and external components were coated to avoid corrosion during prolonged service at sea. These helicopters typically operate from amphibious assault ships.

Operators: Here


US Navy orders nine AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters for Pakistan: Here

AH-1Z Viper


Primary Function: Close air support, anti-armor, armed escort,
armed/visual reconnaissance and fire support coordination capabilities
under day/night and adverse weather conditions
Prime Contractor: Bell Helicopter Textron
Power Plant: 2x General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines with 1,800 shp (each engine)
Length: Fuselage: 44 ft 10 in (13.67 m); w/rotating rotor: 58 ft 3 in (17.8 m)
Height: 14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)
Rotor Diameter: 48 ft (14.6 m)
Weight (Empty): 12,300 lbs (5,579 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 18,500 lbs (8,390 kg)
Payload: Max: 2,176 lbs (987 kg)
Fuel Capacity: Internal: 2,858 lbs (1,296 kg)
Speed: Cruise: 155 kts/178 mph (287 km/h);
Rate of Climb: 2,790 ft/min (14.2 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 20,000+ ft (6,096+ m)
Combat Radius: 125 nm/144 miles (232 km) with 2,500 lbs (1,134 kg) payload
Crew: Two (pilot and co-pilot/gunner)
First Flight: December 8, 2000
Price/Unit Cost: $29.89 million flyaway cost (in FY 2014)
Deployed: September 2010

Specification data

Main material source

Revised Feb 25, 2017

Updated Jan 11, 2018


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