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VX-31 Aircraft Operated for Research, Test, Development, and Evaluation

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AH-1W. (U.S. Navy Photo by Michael McGinnis)




AH-1W Cobra

VX-31 operates the Bell Helicopter AH-1W Super Cobra equipped with the Night Targeting System (NTS) in support of developmental test and technology demonstration projects. 

The AH-1W is a tandem configured, two-seat, two-bladed, twin-engine, armed and tactical attack helicopter designed and built for the Marine Corps’ attack mission.  This armed, tactical helicopter is capable of close air support (CAS), search and target acquisition, laser designation and range finding, low-altitude/high-speed flight, multiple weapon fire support, reconnaissance by fire, and assault support escort missions.

The AH-1W has an unrefueled range of 250 nmi.  Mission altitudes range from
0 to 10,000 feet with airspeeds from 0 to 190 knots.  Cockpit is fully compatible for night vision device (NVD) flight using AN/AVS-9 night vision goggles (NVG). 
The Comm/Nav Upgrade aircraft has:

Two FM/VHF/UHF ARC-210 radios supporting Have Quick I and II and SINCGARS TRANSEC modes, and radio relay operation;

One Embedded GPS/INS (EGI) navigation system with both Y- and P/CA-code capability for PPS and SPS position accuracy; and

AN/ASQ-211 Night Targeting System with daytime CCD video and FLIR imaging sensors, laser designator/range finder system (LDRS) for laser precision guided munitions guidance and accurate target coordinate determination and a video recorder. 

The weapon systems include a turret-mounted M197 20-mm cannon controllable by either a helmet-mounted sight subsystem, gunner telescope sighting unit or fixed-HUD sighting modes.  Four wing stations allow carriage of BGM-71 series TOW and AGM-114 series Hellfire anti-armor missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, and a variety of 2.75 inch and 5.00 inch rockets.

The current aircraft survivability equipment suite consists of an integrated AN/APR-39A(V)2 radar warning receiver, AN/AAR-47 missile warning system, AN/AVR-2 laser warning system, AN/ALQ-144 infrared countermeasures system, and AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser system.

The AH-1W offers an excellent and inexpensive platform for developmental and operational test missions and fleet exercises.  These missions include autonomous and cooperative laser designation for L-PGMs, forward firing ordnance and 20-mm cannon fire, seeker tracking profiles requiring low altitude high maneuver rates, and low altitude and rotary wing target presentations.

Last Update 06-Sep-2013 9:55