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Thread: apache VS cobra - why dont marines use?

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    I hate this bulldog, regards Johnnycab SOG's Avatar
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    Default apache VS cobra - why dont marines use?

    i never thought about this having seeing tons of cobras flying around locally, why dont the marines use the apache? i never questioned why the marines didnt have them, i just liked watching the cobras fly. is the apache too much to maintain, not rugged enough, cant take small arms fire as well, too advanced for whats needed or was it some internal hagling politics as usual? ive never heard anything about this debate or even info or opinions on it and i read a snippet from tains post about the marines not adapting the apache and that got the gears whirling in the hamster cage.

    also for future development is the commanche a extremely costly apache replacement or is it for something else? will the marines adopt it?



    snippets

    U.S. Marines AH-1Z
    Patuxent River, Maryland, USA, 14 June 2001 — Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle, deputy commandant for Marine Aviation, prepares for his first flight aboard the new AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopter at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. From the front cockpit, the veteran CH-46 pilot manned the controls and familiarized himself with some of the aircraft's capabilities during a 45-minute orientation flight. The Marine Corps' current fleet of AH-1W Cobras and UH-1N Huey utility helicopters are currently being upgraded by manufacturer Bell Helicopter Textron. The AH-1Z will feature triple the range and twice the ordnance payload capacity of the existing Cobra, making it the most advanced attack helicopter in the world. Both aircraft will be more than 85 percent identical, sharing a new four-bladed rotor system, fuselage, engine, and cockpit displays. The commonality will save billions of dollars in engineering, operating and support costs over the lifetime of the helicopters.


    VARIANTS
    Most older Cobra variants still in operation have been upgraded to the AH-1F standard. Also produced in Romania and Japan under license from Bell Textron in the U.S.
    AH-1G: Initial production model in 1966
    AH-1S: Upgraded 1960s produced aircraft in late 1980s to the standard TOW carry-ing version.
    AH-1P: A set of AH-1S aircraft fitted with composite rotors, flat plate glass cockpits, and NVG capabilities.
    AH-1E: A set of AH-1S aircraft upgraded with the Enhanced Cobra Armament System incorporating the universal turret, 20-mm gun, automatic compensation for off-axis gun firing, and weapon management system.
    AH-1F: Current standard Cobra. Also referred to as the “Modernized Cobra”. Incorporated all past upgrades


    The Marine Corps deployed 4 of 6 active force squadrons (48 AH-1Ws) to Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. These helicopters destroyed 97 tanks, 104 armored personnel carriers and vehicles, 16 bunkers and 2 antiaircraft artillery sites without the loss of any aircraft. The deployment required no additional augmentation to squadron support personnel and only one Bell Helicopter technical representative.

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    my guess would be that it has something to do with being carrier-based??
    and also the Marines have a lower budget than the army so...

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    Cunning Linguist Ratamacue's Avatar
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    The AH-1 is a reliable and proven design well up to the job. The AH-1Z only furthers its power. There's no need to purchase Apaches when you already have Cobras.

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    Federov Avtomat, FTW!
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    The Apache was more capable, but the difference has been blurred with newer model Cobras. The Cobra was much cheaper, though less sophisticated and takes up much less room on the deck of a ship.

    The Current Longbow apache has an all weather long range detection and attack suite that the cobra can't match. (ie MMW radar plus 2nd gen TI).

    The Commanche comes in two models a gunship and a scout. It is most use as a scout and will be used with AH-64Ds rather than replacing them.

    Having said that from what I have heard of Israeli pilots they prefer the Cobra to the Apache. The Cobra is a much smaller target and can carry similar weapons and engage targets with comparable ability. (ie from 3km both can put a ATGM through a window or hit a moving car at night... the Cobra does it much more cheaply.)

    The Apache has a reputation of being a bit of a hanger Queen... a bit maintainence heavy and expensive to run and buy. It is certainly the more capable of the two though the difference has closed with the new model of the cobra. The Main advantage of the Apache is MMW Radar, and a relatively powerful gun optimised for air to ground work, plus more and better avionics and night flying aides. The Cobra is almost as capable and cheaper to buy and use and is ship ready.

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    thx gaz, i was getting some of those feelings about maintenance when people mentioned the apaches repairs and performance in one of the desert ops either gulf 1 or 2. i really dig the look of the apaches but i figured theres gotta be a reason the corps keeps cobras around. good to know the cobras rock solid, they are fun to watch.

    about the commanche is it a replacement for the kiowa or whatever those birds are with the huge "eye"? forward scouting and observation target mapping thingies? was it doing its job okay or did the army just want a more stealth scout type chopper? or is the kiowa type more of a back end controller?

    it just seems very expensive compared to using a UAV or airplane possibly equipped to do the same thing? or is this part of the armys morphing into a different force ala stryker so this suits them better? i think its nagging me in the back of my mind that the commanche seems like a huge project for what is a high risk small begining role, and it seems like we'd be unwilling to use it like we'd be afraid to break our new toy in something intense. kinda like the carefull use of the f117 and then its scaled use over the years or the seering eye watching the strykers performance and every move.

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    Gaz hit the nail on the head there. All in all, the Cobra is simply a better aircraft, especially for the buck. Have a good one, just some thoughts...

  7. #7
    MolliG
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    Plus, it just looks a whole lot more rock 'ard than a poncy Apache...

    Sorry... I just couldn't help myself...

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    Salty Balls Salty Dog's Avatar
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    oorah!

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    Senior Member oldsoak's Avatar
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    I understand that the Brits had the option of buying the cobra but choose apache possibly because it was a bit more cutting edge - or so it seemed. Nowadays you have add on gizmos and long range fire and forget ATM that can I thought that it would have made more sense to get cobra since was already cleared for operations in a marine environment ( hence able to base it on helicopter carriers and the like ) and it was cheaper. I dont know about the ability of either to take battle damage but I suspect its a case of apaches better protection vs cobras easier repair. Any info gratefully recieved on this.

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    Clog Boy Haiw's Avatar
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    It's got internal weapons bays, so thats why you can't see them. It's also supposed to be able to hang extra 'wings' on it for weapon mounting (called EFAMs right?).

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    here are pics of the newest model: AH-1Z Super Cobra






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    Cunning Linguist Ratamacue's Avatar
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    As far as I know, the AH-1Z has better systems than the Longbow Apache. Also, deep strike capability isn't really needed for the Marines. I'm pretty sure its purpose 99% of the time is close air support. I don't really think that helicopters are suited to deep strikes in any case.

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    Senior Member Operation Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiw
    It's got internal weapons bays, so thats why you can't see them. It's also supposed to be able to hang extra 'wings' on it for weapon mounting (called EFAMs right?).
    Ahhhh i see thank you

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    Senior Member Nizark's Avatar
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    The apache's did have that deep strike as the first shots fired in Gulf War 1 when they flew something like 200 miles in to take out the radar sites so we could roll in with the ground forces.

    Also, anyone hear about some experiment getting UAV's to be used with helicopters?...most likely the apaches? I wasn't sure if it was the armed predators or simply to use as a long range recon system

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    Senior Member Operation Ivy's Avatar
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    Thats sweet!

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