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Huey Cobra GunshipsOsprey New Vanguard 125

Huey Cobra Gunships


Chris Bishop



S u m m a r y

Publication Details: Osprey New Vanguard 125, Huey Cobra Gunships, by Chris Bishop, illustrated by Jim Laurier, Osprey Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 1-84176-984-3
Media: Soft cover; 48 pages plus covers
Price: GBP9.50 or USD$15.95 available online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Clear text setting out history and variants; combat history, good selection of photos; attractive colour plates.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by John Prigent

Osprey's Huey Cobra Gunships will be available online from Squadron.com



The first armed helicopters were used in the 1950s by the British in Malaya and the French in Algeria, so its not surprising that Americans picked up on the idea and armed their UH-1 Hueys in Vietnam. This was not an ideal solution, since the Huey was too slow and too vulnerable, something faster and more heavily armed being needed. Several designs were tested, and the Lockheed Cheyenne was chosen. But it would take some time to get into service (in fact it never did) so the competition was restarted, this time looking for a stopgap solution that could be produced quickly. Bell won with its AH-1 Cobra, using many Huey components but with a narrower fuselage seating its crew of two in tandem a much more difficult target for ground fire than the original armed Hueys.

The Cobra has gone through a whole series of variants, with its single engine being first upgraded for higher power and then replaced by twin engines. The upgrades to the airframe included redesigned front ends, longer tail booms, and four-bladed rotors in place of two blades. Heavier armament loads came in train with the higher-powered engines, and the later Cobras can carry Hellfire guided weapons where the first ones were restricted to TOWs.

As well as clear text setting out Cobras history and explaining the differences between variants, this book gives its combat history in US Army and USMC service from Vietnam to the Second Gulf War. Foreign service is also covered, with export sales having been made to quite a few countries. Both Iran and Israel have used Cobras in combat, though for obvious reasons there are no combat reports from those countries.

The book has a good collection of photographs of the different Cobra variants, many in colour, and excellent plates.

Highly recommended to all helicopter fans!

John Prigent

Review Text Copyright 2006 by John Prigent
This Page Created on 26 July, 2006
Last updated 26 July, 2006

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