Originating from a concept demonstrator delivered to the U.S. Army in 1962 based upon a UH-1 Huey, the AH-1W Super Cobra is the world’s first attack helicopter. Marines have been flying the AH-1W Super Cobra since 1986. The last AH-1W was delivered in 1998.
The AH-1W is being replaced by the AH-1Z, starting in 2006 as part of a remanufacture program. The Last AH-1W is expected to be replaced in 2020. AH-1Ws are fielded in Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons, or HMLAs, along with the UH-1N.
Super Cobra helicopters form the backbone of the Marine Corps’ air-ground task force and act as on-call close air support platforms for Marines under fire. Cobras are also used for ground attack coordination, with pilots trained to call in artillery or mortars on positions while orbiting above the battlefield.
The Super Cobra was the first attack helicopter to qualify both the Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the Sidearm anti-radiation missile. Both missiles can use the same LAU-7 rail launcher. Sidearm has a range of more than 15km. AIM-9L Sidewinder is an all-aspect, short-range, air-to-air missile produced by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. The missile has a range of 15km.