Last updated: 08 Oct 2020
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) replaced the two-bladed AH-1W Super Cobra with the AH-1Z Viper, which features a new, four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit. The AH-1Z is equipped with an integrated advanced fire control system and the capacity to support multiple weapons configurations.
The UH-1Y Venom replaced the UH-1N Huey and includes the latest in technology and production techniques to continue the legacy of the venerable and battle-proven H-1 helicopter design. The UH-1Y includes a new four-bladed, all-composite and ballistically tolerant (up to 23 mm) rotor system, new engines and transmissions, integrated digital cockpit featuring multifunction flat panel displays, increased payload capabilities, and crash-worthy seating for all crew and passengers. The UH-1Y Venom platform also provides significantly increased load carrying ability, greater range and survivability, and has a smaller logistics footprint.
Additionally, the AH-1Z and UH-1Y share 85 percent parts commonality, designed to significantly reduce life-cycle costs and the aircraft’s logistical footprint, while increasing the maintainability and deployability.
The AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter provides rotary wing close air support, anti-armor, anti-air, armed escort, armed/visual reconnaissance and fire support coordination capabilities under day/night and adverse weather conditions for the USMC.
The UH-1Y Venom multi-role utility helicopter is equipped with a wide range of weapons and mission support configurations to also perform close air support missions, along with combat assault support, search and rescue/causality evacuation, armed escort/reconnaissance, command and control, and special operation support. UH-1Y Venom is the USMC’s premier utility platform.
Since 1956, more than 16,000 aircraft have been produced as part of the H-1 family of helicopters, popularly known as the Huey and Cobra. Originating from a 1955 U.S. Army contract for a medical evacuation helicopter, the first Navy/Marine Corps Iroquois variant, the UH-1E, was first procured in 1964.
In 1996, the USMC launched the H-1 upgrade program. The UH-1Y Venom replaced UH-1Ns and the AH-1Z Viper replaced the AH-1W.
Full rate production for the UH-1Y started in 2009. The Marine Corps purchased 160 Y-models. The final UH-1Ys were delivered in April 2018.
Bell was awarded the contract for Lot 16 in early 2019 to complete the production of the AH-1Z. Once production is completed the Marine Corps will have 189 AH-1Zs. Final delivery is expected in early 2021.
The AH-1Z Vipers and UH-1Y Venoms are fielded in Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons, or HMLAs, along with the remaining few AH-1W Super Cobras. Detachments from the HMLAs are deployed as part of Marine Expeditionary Units to support ship-based amphibious exercises and operations.
Crew: Two; pilot, co-pilot/gunner
Crew: 12 -- pilot and co-pilot, one crew chief, one gunner and eight combat-equipped Marines
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