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AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom Helicopters

Last updated: 22 Oct 2021


The United States Marine Corps (USMC) replaced the two-bladed AH-1W Super Cobra with the AH-1Z Viper, which features a four-bladed composite rotor system, new engine and 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 an all-composite rotor system, new engines and transmission, 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 Upgrades 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 2008, with U.S. domestic production of the variant ending in 2020. The AH-1Z reached full rate production in 2010, with US domestic production concluding in 2022. The AH-1Z and UH-1Y are fielded in Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons, or HMLAs. Detachments from the HMLAs are globally deployed as part of Marine Expeditionary Units, supporting ship-based amphibious exercises and operations.

Current international AH-1Z and UH-1Y partners include Bahrain (AH-1Z) and the Czech Republic (mixed fleet of AH-1Z and UH-1Y). 

Marine Corps


General Characteristics
AH-1Z Viper

Primary Function: Attack helicopter

Contractor: Bell 

Date Deployed: Initial operating capability 2011

Propulsion: Two General Electric T-700-GE-401C Turboshaft engines, 1,800 shp (1,340 kW) each

Length: 58 feet, 3 inches (17.75 meters)

Height:14 feet, 4 inches (4.37 meters)

Rotor Diameter: 48 feet (14.6 meters)

Weight: Maximum Takeoff Weight: 18,500 pounds (8,390 kg)

Crew: Two; pilot, co-pilot/gunner


General Characteristics
UH-1Y Venom

Primary Function: Utility helicopter

Contractor: Bell 

Date Deployed: Initial operating capability 2008

Propulsion: Two General Electric T-700-GE-401C Turboshaft engines, 1,800 shp (1,340 kW) each

Length: 58 feet, 4 inches (17.78 meters)

Height: 14 feet, 7 inches (4.5 meters)

Rotor Diameter: 48 feet, 10 inches (14.88 meters)

Weight:  Maximum Takeoff Weight: 18,500 pounds (8,390 kg)


Crew: 12 -- pilot and co-pilot, one crew chief, one gunner and eight combat-equipped Marines  

Point of Contact
Naval Air Systems Command
Public Affairs Department

47123 Buse Road, Unit IPT
Bldg. 2272, Suite 075
Patuxent River, MD 20670-5440

Secondary Point of Contact
U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters
Division of Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20380-1775

NAVAIR public affairs
(301) 995-7909


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