S u m m a r y
||Osprey New Vanguard 125,
Huey Cobra Gunships, by Chris Bishop, illustrated by Jim Laurier, Osprey
||Soft cover; 48 pages plus covers
GBP£9.50 or USD$15.95 available online from Osprey Publishing
||Clear text setting out
history and variants; combat history, good selection of photos;
attractive colour plates.
Osprey's Huey Cobra Gunships will be available online from
The first armed helicopters were used in the 1950s by the British in
Malaya and the French in Algeria, so it’s 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
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 Cobra’s 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!
Review Text Copyright © 2006 by John Prigent
This Page Created on 26 July, 2006
Last updated 26 July, 2006
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