Say Hello To The "Z" Model
A Marine helicopter arrived at the NAVAIR Depot in Cherry Point
(NC) recently, heavily armed with a new mission for depot
An AH-1W Super Cobra arrived on the depot flight line April 8 as
the first of many that are scheduled for transition into the new
AH-1Z. The "Z" model is the attack helicopter component of the U.S.
Marine Corps’ H-1 upgrade program to remanufacture the
existing AH-1W Super Cobra and the UH-1N twin-engine Huey into the
AH-1Z and UH-1Y configurations.
The first step of that remanufacture will be handled by artisans
here when they tear down the older models and package the reusable
components into kits for shipment to the Bell Helicopter facility
located in Amarillo (TX).
According to Chuck Morris, an H-1
business planning rep here, the depot is scheduled to start with
four aircraft this fiscal year, move up to seven next year, and
eventually increase the number each year until reaching a peak of
46 aircraft in FY 2012. The program is scheduled to run through FY
In all, 100 Hueys and 180 Cobras are scheduled for work here. In
terms of people, Morris said, "There would be in the neighborhood
of 100 people involved here when the program reaches its peak."
The Hueys will be broken down into smaller components than the
Cobras, which will leave here with more of their fuselage intact,
said Morris, but each will be shipped out in eight packages. The
process will involve removal of parts that will be used in the
remanufactured models, and repair, refurbishment or replacement of
those parts. "We have to bring each part into ‘condition of
supply’ before we pass it to Bell," said Morris. The
components of the helicopter that arrived here April 8 are
scheduled to be delivered to the manufacturer by Sept. 28.
Improvements incorporated in the upgrade at Bell include a more
powerful General Electric T700 engine, a four-bladed,
all-composite, hingeless and bearingless main rotor system and tail
rotor, as well as identical drive trains, hydraulics and electrical
By using common systems – the two aircraft will be
approximately 85 percent identical – the cost of logistics
support for both will be dramatically reduced and will allow for
vastly improved shipboard operability. Far less critical shipboard
space will be needed to store spare parts and support
Advanced technology will provide the H-1 fleet with increased
battlefield survivability aimed at greater mission success with
fewer combat losses. In addition, the crashworthiness of both the
UH-1Y and the AH-1Z will be improved.
(ANN salutes Navy Public Affairs Specialist Mike