|This page is about the Israeli attack helicopter Tzefa B. For other versions, see AH-1 (Family).
The Tzefa B was a further development of the AH-1G Tzefa A, intended to fill the lack of anti-tank quick response units in the helicopter units. It was conceived as an anti-armour version of the AH-1G, and as such, it was fitted with 8 x BGM-71C TOW (SACLOS) ATGMs for use against enemy units such as tanks and other armoured vehicles. The vehicle entered limited service in 1975, with more units being delivered in 1979.
Introduced in Update "Danger Zone" alongside the initial Israeli helicopter tech tree, the Tzefa B has the good manoeuvrability and speed of other AH-1 variants, but with the extra flexibility offered by the new TOW missiles that older variants such as the Tzefa A are lacking. This allows the Tzefa B to be used in close combat or long range combat. For long range options, pilots can make use of the good agility and speed of the Cobra to quickly change positions and hide behind cover to avoid being shot down by enemy SPAA.
As an attack helicopter, the Tzefa B has very good flight performance at low-medium altitudes, however it becomes more sluggish at high altitudes. In realistic battles with full load, takeoff can be hard as the throttle can not be put at 100% without engine problems, instead, it should be kept at around 80%. It reaches 260 km/h in a straight line with ease, and retains also very good manoeuvrability in low level flight.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 1,000 m)
| Max altitude
Survivability and armour
- 12 mm steel plate - Engine
- 12 mm steel plate - Below and behind pilot
- 20 mm composite boron-carbide - Around the Pilot/Gunner
- Self-sealing fuel tanks: 2 in central fuselage
The Tzefa B is not very survivable, it relies on its speed and manoeuvrability to survive. While fuel tanks are self-sealing, their position makes them prone to catch fire even to the HMGs of enemy tanks. However the armour around the pilot's is enough to stop shots coming from the HMGs of the enemy tanks once the AA threat has been eliminated.
Modifications and economy
The Tzefa B is armed with:
- A choice between two presets:
- 2 x 7.62 mm M134 Minigun machine guns (4,000 rpg = 8,000 total)
- 2 x 40 mm M129 cannons (300 rpg = 600 total)
The 7.62 mm MGs have an amazing rate of fire, and another 2 can be added in the inner pylons, however this weapons lack the penetration to be effective against ground targets, instead, this can be more effective against enemy planes, helicopters or used in PvE Helicopter Battles against light targets.
The Tzefa B can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|7.62 mm M134 Minigun machine guns (1,500 rpg)
|FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets
|BGM-71C Improved TOW missiles
|Default weapon presets
The Tzefa B packs a havy punch thanks to its very diverse ladout. The AGMs should always be part of the combat loadout since they offer the capabilities to confront enemy forces from kilometres away. The rockets are also a very interesting choice, since they have a good amount of ammunition and are very capable in CQB alongside the 40 mm grenade launchers. The MGs in the other hand lack any sort of penetration to be used against ground targets except in Helicopter PVE Battles. However these MGs are excellent at taking out fighters and other helicopters from short range thanks to their amazing rate of fire and generous amount of ammo.
Usage in battles
The Tzefa B is best used in flanking manoeuvres, using its excellent low level speed and agility to shot AGMs from far away and then run back to cover behind mountains or buildings and change positions to confuse enemy SPAA. Frontal attacks are not recommended in the Tzefa B, even when used in close range fights, since enemy SPAAs will have an easy time shooting you down when flying directly to them.
Close Range Combat
If used in a close range assault the Tzefa B should be fitted with the 40 mm grenade launchers and all the rocket pylons, this allows to shoot several salvos of rockets to the enemy units and still retain a decent amount of ammo. While doing so, coming from the sides of the map and neutralizing the enemy frontline SPAA should be a priority, since once the SPAA has been destroyed, the armour of the Tzefa B should be enough to hold against some shots from the enemy's roof mounted HMGs.
Long Range Combat Usage
In long range combat with AGMs, a good idea would be to use the 7.62 mm miniguns to attack enemy aircraft or helicopters that may be a threat to you, many times jets would get slow trying to get a shot at your helicopter, so you could strike back with the amazing rate of fire of the miniguns. The AGMs can also be used against helicopters, when changing firing positions, hiding from the enemy SPAA and launching AGMs at enemy helicopters that are too focused or distracted is a good way to help your team in a support role.
In Helicopter PVE Battles, the priority targets of all pilots should be the ground AA units, so that attack helicopters only equipped with rockets can go and destroy the rest of the units. Pilots can also participate in this attacks once the AA has been neutralized, with a custom loadout with the 40 mm grenade launchers, 8 x AGMs and 38 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets.
Pros and cons
- Very good flight performance at low-medium altitudes
- Relatively small target compared to other helicopters
- Miniguns can't jam, they just overheat
- Very good AGMs for use against enemy armour
- The 40 mm grenade launchers are very good against light units
- Has a Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
- Very bad penetration for the Miniguns
- The 40 mm grenade launchers may be tricky to aim
- Slow climb rate when fully loaded
- Mediocre flight performance at high altitudes
- Slow AGMs compared to other similar BR helicopters
The Bell AH-1Q Tzefa B was a version of the AH-1G equipped for anti-armour duties. The Tzefa B used by the IDF was a result of the identification of the need for weapons system that could respond to ground-based threats quickly and effectively. Six units were ordered using the AH-1G as a basis with good results with six more units ordered and later delivered in 1979.
The Tzefa B was used first in 1979 and alongside other Cobras was very active in combat in Lebanon. They also participated in the Lebanon War of 1982, with great success in the destruction of Syrian armoured forces, fortifications, and conducting raids against enemy logistics.
The Tzefa B could be equipped with rockets, a cannon/MG turret, infrared sights and 8 BGM-71 130 mm TOWs mounted in a pair of pods on the outboard pylons for use against heavy targets like tanks and IFVs.
- Related Development
|Bell Aircraft Corporation
|P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5
|P-63A-10 · P-63A-5 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra
|▂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
|AH-1F · AH-1G · AH-1Z
|UH-1B · UH-1C · UH-1C XM-30
|▅UH-1B · ◄UH-1D
|Tzefa A · Tzefa B · Tzefa D/E · ▅AH-1S early · ▅AH-1S · ▅AH-1S Kisarazu
|Fuji Heavy Industries · Agusta
|Tzefa D/E · Tzefa A · Tzefa B
|Saraph · Peten · AH-64A Peten