The United States Marine Corps Bids Farewell To The AH-1W Super Cobra Helicopter

The iconic USMC attack helicopter is replaced by the upgraded AH-1Z Viper after 34 years of service and almost one million flight hours.

The United States Marine Corps retired the AH-1W Super Cobra with an official final flight by the New Orleans-based “Red Dogs” of Detachment A – Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 773 on October 14, 2020 during the “Whiskey Sundown Ceremony”. The name of the ceremony comes from the unofficial name of the helicopter, “Whiskey Cobra”, after the NATO phonetic alphabet pronunciation of the “W” in the helicopter’s mission design series nomenclature.

The iconic Super Cobra, descendant of the Vietnam era AH-1 Cobra, flew for the first time in 1983 as AH-1T+ and was introduced into service three years later. Since then, the fleet of 179 helicopters served the USMC for 34 years and flew for 933’614 hours, as of August 2020, taking part to multiple combat operations as Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, Restore Hope, Deny Flight (notably providing support during the rescue of the USAF F-16 pilot Capt. Scott O’Grady) and more recently over Libya against ISIS.