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AH-1F Cobra

The AH-1S Modernized Cobra was redesignated as AH-1F Modernized Cobra, and could be identified by the air data sensor mounted above the right side of the canopy. The AH-1F Cobra was equipped with the Allied Signal Engines (ASE) T53-L-703 1800 shp turboshaft engine, gearbox, and transmission introduced to the Production AH-1S Cobra.

Armament consists of the three-barrel M197 20mm automatic gun mounted on the M97A4 armament subsystem. The Modernized AH-1F was equipped to fire eight TOW (Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire Command-Link Guided) anti-tank missiles, and the Hydra 70 2.75 inch rocket system. It was equipped with the M65 TOW/Cobra missile system, the M147 Rocket Management System with the M97A4 armament subsystem. The Cobra could also disperse chaff and infrared jamming flares using the M130 general purpose dispenser. Some AH-1F Cobras received the C-NITE upgrade, which allowe the gunner to designate and acquire targets during night or adverse operating conditions.

In March 1999 the soldiers and pilots of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) said farewell to the AH-1F Cobra helicopter, the Army's first dedicated attack aircraft. The last active-duty unit to employ the Cobra, the 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, retired the Vietnam-era gunship following a final show of force 15 March 1999 in the skies over Oahu. The battalion's AH-1F Cobras would go to the National Guard. All of the aircraft would be replaced with 24 OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, a revamped version of the Kiowa scout helicopter.

As of April 2001 there were over 395 AH-1F Cobras in the Army fleet, including 395 in active units and 43 in storage. Their scheduled obsolescence extended over the 2002-2015 period.

Three types of Army helicopters were expected to be retired before 2005, and aviation battalions would be reorganized as part of the Army's 2000 Aviation Force Modernization Plan, which was unveiled in April 2000. Under the plan, AH-1 Cobras were divested by October 2001, and UH-1 Iroquois and A and C model OH-58 Kiowas retired by 2004. According to the plan, the UH-1s were to be replaced by UH-60 Black Hawks. The Cobras and Kiowas were replaced by AH-64D Apaches and eventually by RAH-66 Comanches, the new reconnaissance and attack helicopter scheduled to begin joining the Army in 2008. The RAH-66 was subsequently canceled, with the ARH-70 armed reconnaissance helicopter becoming the intended replacement. Later-model Kiowas were scheduled for retirement in fiscal year 2013, according to the plan.




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