Bell AH-1 HueyCobra

Designs for the AH-1 began in 1965 to meet a proposed Army requirement for a gunship that could be used to escort the UH-1 troop helicopters as well as defend the support the troops in the LZ. Although it was initially rejected, in 1966 the AH-1 was accepted by the U.S. Army for use in Vietnam, with deliveries beginning in June of 1967. Total production of the AH-G1 eventually totaled 1,126 units.

Post-war, the Army sought to extend the usefulness of the HueyCobra with a series of armament, electronic, and defensive improvements. Ultimately, it was supplanted in U.S. Army service by the Boeing AH-64A Apache, but is still in service with the U.S.M.C. (which also uses the twin-engined AH-1 SuperCobra), and remains the main attack helicopter in a number of foreign air forces. Primary users of the HueyCobra (besides the United States) include Bahrain, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Pakistan, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and Turkey.

Besides the chin-mounted cannon, the AH-1 can carry a variety of ordnance under the stub wings. Generally, it is armed with two four-round TOW launchers and two 7-round 70mm rocket launchers.

The helicopter has a crew of two. The pilot sits aft and above the copilot/gunner. The AH-1 burns 94 gallons of jet fuel per hour of routine usage. A full tank of fuel and ammo (not including hardpoint ordnance) costs $2,466.


Subassemblies: Body +3, Top-and-tail rotor -1, two Stub Wings -1; two Fixed Skids +0.

Powertrain: 1,342-kW HP gas turbine; 962-kW TTR drivetrain, 2,300-kWs advanced battery.

Fuel: 247 gallons jet fuel (Fire 13) in standard self-sealing tank [Body] (fire -1).

Occupancy: 2 CCS.

Cargo: 0 lbs.


Armor F RL B T U

Crew: +1/+5 +1/+5 +1/+5 +1/+5 +1/+5

All Else: 3/15 3/15 3/15 3/15 3/15



20mm 3-bar. Gatling/M197 [Body:F] (750 rounds SAPHE).

2,200 lbs. disposable ordnance [Stub Wings:U].



Body: Combat Helicopter Package (advanced radar detector, autopilot, dedicated targeting computer with software, digital recon camera, HUDWAC with pupil scanner, IFF, IR jammer (-2), 10x LLTV, military GPS, navigation instruments, two long-range radios with scramblers (300 miles), two smoke/decoy dischargers, two reloads (flares), 10-mile thermograph), 2-man environmental control, backup driver, laser rangefinder, laser detector. Stub Wings: Two hardpoints each.



Size: 44'x3'x13' Payload: 1.7 tons Lwt.: 5 tons

Volume: 298 cf Maint.: 7 hours Price: $11,275,000


HT: 11. HPs: 297 Body, 132 Rotors, 43 each Stub Wing, 40 each Skid.


aSpeed: 141 aAccel: 3 aDecel: 17 aMR: 4 aSR: 2

Stall speed 0.


Design Notes:

Body is 190 cf; rotor is 3.8 cf; stub wings are 3.8 cf, wheels are 9.5 cf. Structure is medium, expensive with fair streamlining. Overall armor is standard composite; armor for the crew stations is expensive metal. Crew station armor was purchased to cover the 40 cf required to house the crew stations. Mechanical controls. Fuel tank is standard, seal-sealing. Design weight was 9% over at 11,029 lbs.; design empty weight was 3% under at 6,396 lbs.

Real-world weight was used for performance calculations. Design cost was used for maintenance calculations. The real-world speed has been substituted; design aSpeed was 269 mph. The chin turret was subsumed in the body volume. The Combat Helicopter Package was used for this design, but all of these components would only be available in the most current Modernized Cobra upgrade. Current unit price is approximately $11.275 million.



The Model 209 was the original prototype and featured retractable skid landing gear and a 820-kW turboshaft.

The AH-G1 (1966) was the first production model with a 1,044-kW turboshaft and two GAU-2B/A Miniguns with 4,000 rounds per gun. Other turret weapon variations included two 40mm M129 grenade launchers with 300 rounds, or one of each weapon type.

The JAH-1G was a single helicopter used to test the Hellfire missile and multi-barrel cannon.

The TH-1G was a two-seat dual-control trainer.

The AH-1Q was equipped with the TOW missile system, telescopic sights, and reflex sights.

The AH-1S (1975) is an AH-1Q upgraded to a 1,342-kW turboshaft.

The AH-1P (1977-78) introduced a flat pane glass cockpit, composite rotors, and new cockpit layout for nap-of-earth flying. This is Step 1 of the AH-1S upgrade program. 100 produced.

The AH-1E (1978-79) introduced the 20mm M197. This is Step 2 of the AH-1S upgrade program. 98 produced.

The AH-1F (1979-1981) reintroduced the M147 RMS, air data subsystems, laser rangefinder and tracker, and IR jammer, and IR-suppressed exhaust system. This is Step 3 of the AH-1S upgrade program. 143 produced, and 387 converted from AH-G1 Cobras.


From the Aerodrome for GURPS

2008 by Jim Antonicic