True to the arguments of those who feared for the AH-56 Cheyenne program, the funds for that program were almost immediately cut following the 1966 decision to buy the AH-1G, and the AH-56 Cheyenne eventually died. Ten prototypes were completed before the program was terminated on 9 August 1972, due to delayed development, rising costs, and the appearance of two competitive company-funded initiatives by Sikorsky and Bell. The helicopter's mission would eventually be assumed by the Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas) AH-64 Series Apache attack helicopter.
The AH-1Q anti-armor version was the result of the Improved Cobra Armament Program (ICAP), to fill the operational gap left by the failure of the AH-56A Cheyenne program. The AH-1Q had an M28A1E1 turret (later standardized as the M28A2), XM65 TOW/Cobra missile subsystem, infrared sight, and XM128 helmet sight subsystem (HSS). The AH-1Q was equipped to fire eight Hughes BGM-71 130mm TOW (Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire Command-Link Guided) anti-tank missiles mounted in a pair of two-round pods on the outboard pylons. M200 19-tube 2.75 inch rocket launchers could be carried on the inboard pylons. The AH-1Q was deployed to Vietnam in 1973, but was unable to carry a full weapon load in that environment, leading to development of the AH-1S Cobra. The AH-1Q was the first Cobra to feature the snub-nosed Telescopic Sight Unit (TSU).
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