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HeliTorque :: View topic - Zulu (AH-1Z) gets a Go
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HeliTorque Forum Index » News, Updates & Intel

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Zulu (AH-1Z) gets a Go
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:02 am    Post subject: Zulu (AH-1Z) gets a Go Reply with quote


December 01, 2010

The US Navy’s Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has given the go-ahead for full rate production of the Bell AH-1Z Cobra.

On 28 November the H-1 programme office received official approval from NAVAIR after the AH-1Z, known as the ‘Zulu’, completed operational testing in mid-2010 after which it was deemed ‘operationally effective and suitable’.

‘It performed very well in operational test last spring and I am confident that it will do as well in combat,’ said Col Harry Hewson, the US Marine Corps Program Manager for Light and Attack Helicopters, in a NAVAIR statement.

‘The next phase of this programme is getting the Zulu into the hands of the fleet and into combat,’ he added.

The AH-1Z features a new four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit.

These helicopters are part of the US Marine Corps H-1 Upgrade Program. The goal is to replace the current fleet of AH-1W helicopters with new and remanufactured AH-1Zs.

Bell says the aircraft will ‘provide significantly greater performance, supportability and growth potential over their predecessors’.

It is expected that 189 of these AH-1Ws will be delivered by the end of 2021, with the first deployment expected in 2011.

‘Getting the Zulu into full rate production is very important for the marines and for our nation,’ said Rear Adm Steve Eastburg, Program Executive Officer for Air, Assault and Special Mission Programs.

‘Both the UH-1Y and AH-1Z deliver superb combat effectiveness to the Marine warfighter,’ he continued.

The UH-1Y is the US Marine Corps’ combat utility helicopter, and is 84% identical to the AH-1Z. The UH-1Y was approved in 2008.

By Beth Stevenson, London
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:39 pm    Post subject: Zulu to put to sea for first operational deployment June 23, Reply with quote

Zulu to put to sea for first operational deployment
June 23, 2011
The latest version of the US Marine Corp's Cobra attack helicopter is set to make its first operational deployment at sea.
Four AH-1Z 'Zulu' Cobras from the HMLA-367 'Scarfaces' will deploy in October as part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit, which will cross the Pacific and operate in the Indian Ocean alongside UH-1Ys and CH-46 Sea Knights.
Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Col Harry Hewson of PMA-276, the organisation charged with the introduction of the aircraft, said the deployment was an ideal opportunity to 'iron out any bugs in the system' before the aircraft was deployed to an operational theatre such as Afghanistan.
He pointed out that the aircraft was not being deployed there because there simply were not enough aircraft available yet for a complete squadron to deploy. The USMC currently has 16 AH-1Zs, with two more to be added this year. HMLA-367 has five of those machines, and they are split between training units and test squadrons at China Lake and Patuxent River.
The AH-1Z will be joined on the ship by the UH-1Y which entered service with the marines in 2008. Both aircraft share many of the same components and have close to 84% commonality allowing the USMC to reduce the logistics train for both aircraft.
The capability of the AH-1Y, which is replacing the UH-1N Huey in service, means that the HMLA squadrons are being re-formulated. Currently HMLA squadrons consist of 18 AH-1 Cobra and nine UH-1 Hueys, but with the introduction of the Zulu and Yankee, the squadrons will feature 15 AH-1Zs and 12 UH-1Ys.
Hewson said the Yankee had been performing well in Afghanistan where the type is now on its third deployment.
The USMC is now working on several updates for the new aircraft based on its experiences in Afghanistan, among them a tactical video datalink (TVDL) for the Yankee so that the aircraft could send video from its EO/IR sensor to troops on the ground. Currently, such a system is only available on the AH-1W but the sensor on that aircraft is inferior to the one fitted on the Yankee. It is hoped that a TVDL for the Yankee will be ready in the next 12 months.
Further improvements include the fitment of a new updated self-defence system and the addition of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons Systems (APKWS), which Hewson said he expected to be fielded about a year from now on both the Zulu and the Yankee models.
Look out for a more in-depth feature on the use of the UH-1Y in Afghanistan in a future edition of Defence Helicopter magazine.

Tony Osborne, Paris
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