“The AH-1Z’s are replacing the AH-1W’s with greater fuel capacity, ordnance capabilities, and situational awareness.”
The AH-1Z can carry and deploy 16 Hellfire missiles, effectively doubling the capacity of its predecessor, the AH-1W. Updated avionics systems and sensors are another important aspect of the upgrade.
The upgraded capabilities allow the squadron to further project power.
“With the new turret sight system sensor, we can see threats from much further out than before. Obviously, that’s a huge advance for our situational awareness.”
“Having the new digital display systems under glass is a big change from the old steam gauges. “Another thing you notice is that in the electrical optical sensor, there’s a night and day difference.”
The updated electrical systems create a new situation for Marine avionics technician with the squadron.
“The new Zulus incorporate systems from the AH-1W and the UH-1Y and essentially combine them. The upgraded turret sight systems create much more in-depth images, which allow pilots to pinpoint targets better and get more descriptive, accurate pictures.”
Maintainers are essential to keep the squadron at the peak of readiness
“Maintenance Marines have done an outstanding job of accepting the new aircraft. They have really done the majority of the heavy lifting on this project, and we definitely appreciate them.”
Although there will be a learning curve working with the new system due to its modernity, crews are excited to work with the upgraded helicopters.
“Times are changing and we need for the AH-1W’s to retire. And, the AH-1Z’s are the perfect candidate to replace them.”