Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


This is coolbert:

Add this one to the strange but true category?

A "relic" from the Vietnam War, the AH-1 [in much improved variant], still beats, in competition, much more advanced designs of attack helicopters, to include the ultra-sophisticated Ka-50-2?

From the wiki entry for the Kamov Ka-50 attack helicopter.

"Ka-50-2 Erdogan"

"In 1997, Israeli Air Industries (IAI) in cooperation with the Kamov bureau entered a Turkish design competition for a $4 billion contract for 145 (later changed to 50) combat [attack] helicopters. The helicopter designed for the competition became the Ka-50-2 Erdogan, a tandem cockpit twin-seater variant of the Ka-50 that featured a modern, Israeli-made "glass cockpit" avionics and a turret-mounted side-folding (for landing clearance) 30mm cannon as opposed to the fixed cannon of the Ka-50 . . . The Erdogan beat the Eurocopter and Apache [U.S.] helicopters, but lost to an improved version of AH-1 Cobra."

This much improved variant of the Huey Cobra is the Z version? As used by the U.S. Marines, but with a slightly "souped-up" engine, additional pair of rotor blades, and some advanced avionics. But NOT a whole lot different than the original HueyCobra as developed and fielded during the Vietnam War [mid-1960's]!!

I can understand - - that the HueyCobra does have some advantages EVEN OVER MORE RECENTLY DEVELOPED AND FAR [??] MORE SOPHISTICATED MODELS OF ATTACK HELICOPTERS!

Is a KNOWN PRODUCT! By now, four decades after initial development, all the bugs have been worked out.

But - - for a AH-1Z to beat in competition an improved version of the Ka-50, does come as a surprise to me. I am sure the joint Israeli-Russian design team knew full well what they were doing.

Those super-sophisticated attack helicopters ARE SUBJECT TO MUCH DOWN TIME FOR MAINTENANCE! Require a lot of work just to keep flying, much less perform well in combat. Simplicity of the HueyCobra gives it an edge over more sophisticated competition?

With the Cobra, especially the Marine version, the Zuni five inch [127 mm] rocket [the "Holy Moses" round] is available if the "chopper" is being used in the fire support role against ground troops. Like having a FLYING ARTILLERY PIECE!!

For a variety of reasons, the Cobra attack helicopter contract and delivery was not finalized, the Turks in the end adopting the "Italian A-129 Mangusta."




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