|News Release Number: E201009291||29-Sep-10|
|NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- The U.S. Marine Corps’ newest attack helicopter, the AH-1Z Cobra has successfully completed its Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL).|
On Sept. 24, NAVAIR’s H-1 Upgrades program office received official notification from the Navy’s Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force that its AH-1Z helicopters were found to be “operationally effective and suitable” and were been recommended for fleet introduction.
“This marks a significant milestone for the program,” said Col. Harry Hewson, program manager for U.S. Marine light and attack helicopters. “The AH-1Z has come a long way through development and it has finally proven itself as a lethal and reliable attack helicopter. The Marines in the fleet are very eager to get their hands on the Zulu and get it into the fight.”
A total of 189 new and remanufactured AH-1Z helicopters are anticipated, with deliveries expected to be complete by the end of 2021.
The AH-1Z Cobra helicopters are part of the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Upgrade Program. The program’s goal is to replace AH-1W helicopters with new and remanufactured AH-1Zs which provide significantly greater performance, supportability and growth potential over their predecessors.
The evaluation report noted that the AH-1Z fire control and additional weapons delivery modes allowed for improved weapons delivery accuracy, reduced pilot workload, and enhanced employment flexibility compared with the AH-1W.
The H-1 Upgrade Program offers 84 percent “identicality” of parts shared between the AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters. This commonality reduces lifecycle and training costs and decreases the logistics footprint for both aircraft.