AH-1W

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Rank VI USA | Premium | Golden Eagles
A-10A Thunderbolt (Early)
This page is about the American attack helicopter AH-1W. For other variants, see AH-1 (Family).
AH-1W
ah_1w.png
GarageImage AH-1W.jpg
AH-1W
AB RB SB
10.0 10.7 10.7
Research:380 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:1 000 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
Show in game

Description

The AH-1W "Super Cobra" or "Whiskey Cobra" is a 1980s member of the greater Cobra attack helicopter family. Externally, the main difference from the AH-1G/AH-1F is the use of two engines; this evolution came from the preference of the US Marine Corps and resulted in the AH-1J Sea Cobra, of which the AH-1W is a weapons and electronics upgrade. A battle-tested veteran of the US Marines, the AH-1W was developed into the modernized AH-1Z Viper but continued to serve alongside its replacement until 2020.

Introduced in Update "Alpha Strike", the AH-1W is a sort of missing link between the AH-1F and the AH-1Z. Like the former, it has access to vintage wire-guided TOW missiles and relies quite heavily on its gun and rockets as secondary weapons for rushing attacks. But it has similar offensive capabilities to the Viper as well: thermal optics and an auto-tracker, AGM-114B Hellfire laser-guided missiles, and AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles for more methodical play. It also boasts unique access to high-calibre Zuni rockets normally seen on fixed-wing aircraft, giving US helicopter pilots a chance to indulge in high-explosive mayhem.

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 1 000 m287 km/h
Max altitude6 000 m
Engine2 х General Electric T700-GE-401C
Take-off weight7 t

The AH-1W generally has good flight performance. It has the same engines as the later AH-1Z but doesn't have the Viper's four-blade propeller. The top speed is slightly improved over the AH-1F, and it's still a good performer for treetop skimming. The handling may be slightly unstable at times, so try to keep the collective up when moving at high speeds and practice sharp manoeuvres before trying them in combat.

Characteristics Max speed
(km/h at _,___ m)
Max altitude
(metres)
AB RB
Stock ___ ___ 6000
Upgraded ___ ___

Survivability and armour

MAW
Alerts when an incoming missile is detected, and automatically deploys flares/chaff
IRCM
Protects against IR-guided missiles
Crew2 people
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear420 km/h

The AH-1W has a similar level of armour protection to the AH-1F: the two crew members have armoured seats and the engines are protected from the side by two 12 mm steel plates. This helps protect the crew somewhat from small arms fire and shrapnel but will do little against cannon fire, or even multiple hits from heavy machine guns. Notably, there is no bulletproof glass in the front canopy.

With two engines, the AH-1W has a better chance of limping home after sustaining incoming damage than the US Army Cobra models, but it will be difficult to do any combat manoeuvring when running on half the engine power.

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB8 194 → 13 970 Sl icon.png
RB3 869 → 6 596 Sl icon.png
SB5 024 → 8 565 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications293 000 Rp icon.png
431 000 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost2 600 Ge icon.png
Crew training290 000 Sl icon.png
Experts1 000 000 Sl icon.png
Aces2 400 Ge icon.png
Research Aces950 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
100 / 240 / 320 % Sl icon.png
220 / 220 / 220 % Rp icon.png
Modifications
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods jet compressor.png
Compressor
Research:
15 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
390 Ge icon.png
Mods cd 98 main rotor.png
Replacing helicopter blades
Research:
13 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
340 Ge icon.png
Mods jet engine.png
Engine
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
18 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods heli flak jacket.png
Flak jacket
Research:
15 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
390 Ge icon.png
Mods heli structure.png
Helicopter frame
Research:
13 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
340 Ge icon.png
Mods jet engine extinguisher.png
EFS
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
18 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
Cover
Research:
24 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
35 000 Sl icon.png
630 Ge icon.png
Mods heli false thermal targets.png
MAW
Research:
15 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
390 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods ammo.png
t_160_belt_pack
Research:
15 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
390 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods counterMeasures.png
IRCM
Research:
13 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
340 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon block rocket.png
M200A1
Research:
13 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
340 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods atgm heli preset.png
TOW-2 4
Research:
13 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
340 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods thermal sight.png
NVD
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
18 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods weapon.png
t_160_new_gun
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
18 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon block rocket large.png
LAU-10/A
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
18 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods atgm heli preset.png
AGM-114
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
18 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods gunpods.png
Gun pod GPU-2/A.
Research:
24 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
35 000 Sl icon.png
630 Ge icon.png
Mods air to air missile.png
AIM-9L
Research:
24 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
35 000 Sl icon.png
630 Ge icon.png
Mods atgm heli preset.png
AGM-114 2
Research:
24 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
35 000 Sl icon.png
630 Ge icon.png

Armaments

Night vision devices
Improves visibility by enhancing natural light or active illumination.
Thermal imager
Allows to see thermal radiation in the infrared range day and night
Ballistic Computer
CCIP (Guns) CCIP (Rockets) CCIP (Bombs)
alt={{{alt}}} alt={{{alt}}} alt={{{alt}}}

Offensive armament

Main article: M197 (20 mm)

The AH-1W is armed with:

  • A choice between two presets:
    • 1 x 20 mm M197 cannon (750 rpg) + 120 x countermeasures
    • 1 x 20 mm M197 cannon + 120 x countermeasures + IRCM

The AH-1W retains the M197 cannon from the AH-1F, essentially a three-barrel version of the M61 Vulcan gatling gun, mounted in a chin turret with 750 rounds of ammunition. With the assistance of the AH-1W's auto-tracker, the M197 is effective at spraying down other aircraft thanks to its great rate of fire and high muzzle velocity. Against ground targets, it's not quite as capable as the 30 mm cannons of the Apache or Havoc as its maximum penetration is only 40 mm, but this is enough to perforate SPAAs and hose down many light tanks from the sides or top.

Suspended armament

The AH-1W can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

1 2 3 4
Hardpoints Tzefa A.png
20 mm M197 cannons (300 rpg) 1 1* 1* 1
FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets 7, 19 7, 19 7, 19 7, 19
Zuni Mk32 Mod 0 ATAP rockets 4 4 4 4
AGM-114B Hellfire missiles 2, 4 * 2, 4 *
BGM-71D TOW-2 missiles 2, 4 * 2, 4 *
AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles 1 1
* Air-to-ground missiles cannot be equipped with gunpods on the adjacent hardpoint
Default weapon presets
  • Without load
  • 2 x AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles
  • 76 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets
  • 16 x Zuni Mk32 Mod 0 ATAP rockets
  • 4 x BGM-71D TOW-2 missiles
  • 8 x BGM-71D TOW-2 missiles
  • 4 x AGM-114B Hellfire missiles
  • 8 x AGM-114B Hellfire missiles
  • 4 x 20 mm M197 cannons (300 rpg = 1,200 total)

The AH-1W has a large arsenal in terms of variety, but less so in terms of capacity; it only has four pylons, unlike the six of the Viper or Apache. Beginning with ATGMs, the stock option is the familiar BGM-71D TOW-2 wire-guided missile. It is less than impressive at the AH-1W's battle rating, having a range of only 3.75 km and no tandem warhead. The top option is the AGM-114B Hellfire missile well known on later US helicopters, boasting great improvements in range, speed, and firepower. As a semi-active laser homing missile, it requires more supervision in use and can alert targets with laser warning receivers, but most of the time it's the more viable missile. All ATGMs are mounted on the outboard pylons only for a maximum capacity of eight.

Two types of rockets are available and can be mounted on all four pylons. The FFAR Mighty Mouse is a classic low-calibre HEAT rocket with low penetration but high capacity. It's sufficient for cleaning up light targets but modern MBTs are resistant to frontal attacks. The Mk 32 Mod 0 Zuni rocket is a more exciting option: coming in pods of four, each Zuni has 457 mm of HEAT penetration, and more importantly, 8.91 kg of TNT equivalent. This is fairly close to the explosive yield of S-13OF rockets used by Soviet helicopters and can overpressure enemy tanks on direct hits and splash SPAAs with near-misses.

The AH-1W also has access to all-aspect AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles, giving it another potent tool to combat aircraft besides the internal cannon. Highly manoeuvrable, they can easily shoot down unaware jets. The main issue is that they can only be mounted singly on the outboard pylons for a total of two, so not only is the overall capacity small, but they also compete for pylon space with the ATGMs.

The last option is the GPU-2/A gun pod containing a standalone M197 cannon with 1200 rounds of ammunition. It can be mounted on any pylon for additional gunfire, but is more of a novelty than a practical weapon as the internal EEGS-assisted M197 is much more efficient at swatting planes and light vehicles without occupying valuable hardpoint space.


Usage in battles

The AH-1W can be played in many ways. It can be used as a classic early-game rocket rusher like previous Cobra models, relying on its speed and low profile, but it is not significantly more effective in this role than the basic AH-1F because the Zuni rockets require additional spawn points. At the Whiskey Cobra's battle rating even many non-SPAA vehicles have tools to shoot down nearby helicopters. On a second spawn, Zunis are much more powerful and can potentially one-shot enemies that aren't expecting such a bold approach, but by then it's likely that there will be at least some SPAA up. Use cover when possible to move around the outskirts of the battlefield undetected.

As an ATGM slinger, the AH-1W can do some good work with up to eight AGM-114B Hellfires. However, it has one peculiar drawback compared to other Hellfire-equipped helicopters: the optical zoom is unusually low, topping out at only 13x. It becomes very difficult to precisely adjust the aim point of the laser designator beyond a few kilometres of distance from the target. As a result, the damage of Hellfire impacts on armoured targets can be somewhat random; a lucky hit could strike turret roof armour and trigger overpressure for an instant knockout, an unlucky one might just take out an unimportant module or crew member. As such, eight Hellfires will not always translate to a similar number of tanks destroyed. In some situations it may be fruitful to use Hellfires to take out SPAAs (with caution, as low zoom makes it harder to find and target them) and light targets first, then move in closer to use Zunis.

The AH-1W lacks the AH-1Z's wingtip Sidewinder hardpoints and must sacrifice ATGMs to mount them. Even just one Sidewinder will halve the ATGM capacity to a meagre four, so many pilots might opt to ignore AAMs when the main focus is tank busting. A loadout of two Sidewinders and two rocket pods can be reserved as a low-SP option for light air defense and light ground attack.


Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Thermal optics and auto-tracker for easier targeting than previous Cobras
  • Can carry up to eight AGM-114B Hellfire missiles or two AIM-9L Sidewinders
  • Currently the only helicopter with access to Zuni rockets
  • Small profile

Cons:

  • Limited protection
  • Only four hardpoints, ATGMs and AAMs conflict with each other
  • Unusually low optical zoom

History

Describe the history of the creation and combat usage of the helicopter in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too long, take it to a separate article, taking a link to the article about the vehicle and adding a block "/History" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/(Vehicle-name)/History) and add a link to it here using the main template. Be sure to reference text and sources by using <ref></ref>, as well as adding them at the end of the article with <references />. This section may also include the vehicle's dev blog entry (if applicable) and the in-game encyclopedia description (under === In-game description ===, also if applicable).

Devblog

As the AH-1 Cobra entered service with the Army, the USMC expressed their interest in acquiring Cobras for their own use. However, these Cobras would have to be twin-engined and possess a more capable primary armament to meet the Marines' service requirements. Despite initial hesitation from the Department of Defense, the Marines received the go-ahead and proceeded with awarding Bell with a contract to produce 49 AH-1J Sea Cobras in May 1968.

Similarly to the Army, the USMC also perceived the AH-1 as an interim vehicle, until a more suitable replacement could be found. Whilst this replacement would come to the Army in the form of the AH-64 Apache, the USMC's request to upgrade their fleet with a naval version of the Apache would be met with disapproval by the Congress in 1981, thus forcing the Marines to look into other options. The decision was therefore made to upgrade the existing fleet with new AH-1W Super Cobras, which featured an improved fire control system and the ability to carry more advanced ordnance.

Media

Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the helicopter;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links


Bell Aircraft Corporation
Aircraft 
Fighters  P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5
  P-400
  P-63A-10 · P-63A-5 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra
Jet Fighters  P-59A
Export  ▂P-39K-1 · ▂Pokryshkin's P-39N-0 · ▂P-39Q-15 · ▄P-39Q-25
  ▂P-63A-5 · ▂P-63A-10 · ▂P-63C-5 · ▄P-63C-5
Helicopters 
Attack  AH-1F · AH-1G · AH-1Z · AH-1W
  OH-58D
Utility  UH-1B · UH-1C · UH-1C XM-30
Export/Licensed  ▅UH-1B · ◄UH-1D
  Tzefa A · Tzefa B · Tzefa D/E · ▅AH-1S early · ▅AH-1S · ▅AH-1S Kisarazu · ␗AH-1W
  ␗OH-58D
See Also  Fuji Heavy Industries · Agusta

USA helicopters
Attack 
Black Hawk  MH-60L DAP
Choctaw  H-34
Cobra  AH-1F · AH-1G · AH-1Z
SuperCobra  AH-1W
Kiowa  OH-58D
Little Bird  AH-6M
Apache  YAH-64 · AH-64A · ▃AH-64A Peten · AH-64A (GR) · AH-64D
Utility 
Huey  UH-1B · UH-1C · UH-1C XM-30