The United States Marine Corps (USMC) officially retired its Bell AH-1W Super Cobra twin-engine attack helicopters last week after 34 years of service. The model completed its first flight on Nov. 16, 1983, and the USMC took delivery of its first AH-1W—initially called the AH-1T+—on March 27, 1986. The Super Cobra will be replaced by the Bell AH-1Z Viper.
“The AH-1W Super Cobra has served admirably and leaves a remarkable legacy of on-time, on-target attack helicopter support for our Marines,” said program manager for the USMC Light/Attack Helicopters program (PMA-276) Col. David Walsh. “Although the AH-1W chapter is closing, the AH-1Z Viper stands ready with even greater capability to support our Marines for years to come.”
According to Bell Textron, the last of the Marines’ domestic fleet of 179 Super Cobras was delivered in 1999. The USMC reports that it logged 933,614 hours on the AH-1W over the course of its operation. As part of an remanufacture program, a number of former AH-1Ws will stay in service as AH-1Zs.