Bell AH-1S 'TOWCOBRA' at the New England Air Museum


Type:   Attack helicopter
Crew:   2
First Flight:   
Length:   44' 7”
Height:   13' 8”
Rotor Diameter:   44'
Empty Weight:   6,415 lbs.
Gross Weight:   10,000 lbs.
Cruise Speed:   
Maximum Speed:   172 mph
Range:   340 mi.
Service Ceiling:   ~12,000'
Powerplant:   Avco Lycoming T53-L-703
Armament:   4 or 8 TOW missles in 2 missle launchers
Year:   1971
Serial No.:   70-15981
Location:   Military Hangar

Courtesy of the United States Army Center of Military History

The Bell AH-1, is a two-blade, single engine attack helicopter which was developed using the engine, transmission and rotor system from the Bell UH-1 “Iroquois” (Huey). It is referred to as the “Cobra,” “HueyCobra,” or “Snake.”

The Museum's AH-1S version is called the “TOW Cobra” as it was equipped to carry eight TOW (tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided) anti-tank missiles. It also has an upgraded Lycoming T53-L-703 turbine engine.

The Cobra was the mainstay of the U.S. Army attack helicopter fleet and first saw service providing fire support to UH-1's in highly mobile “air cavalry” tactics utilized Vietnam. It also saw action in Grenada in 1983, Panama in 1989, and during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the 1990-91 Gulf War.

The Cobra was phased out during the 1990's and was retired from service in 1999. Later versions continue to be in service with the U.S. Marine Corps.

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