Turkish AH-1W return to the water

In mid-November, a Turkish navy official stated that, now that the Türk Kara Havacilik Komutanlığı (Turkish Army Aviation Command) has 55 T-129A/B Atak assault helicopters in its inventory, it could transfer its fleet of 10 AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters to the Türk Deniz Hava Komutanlığı (Turkish Navy Aviation Command). The Army AH-1W fleet consists of thirteen former U.S. Marines Corps aircraft that were designed and built to serve in a naval role.

The transfer request makes total sense, now that the TCG Anadolu is almost finished. The TCG Anadolu (L-400) is an amphibious assault ship (Landing Helicopter Dock – LHD) of the Turkish Navy that can be configured as a light aircraft carrier as well. It was designed to host up to 8 x AS532UL Cougar or CH-47F Chinook, 2 x S-70B Seahawk helicopters, 2 x Anka/Bayraktar UCAVs, in addition to for four assault helicopters like the AH-1W or, alternatively, the T129B Atak. Since the latter will not be developed in a naval variant, the AH-1W would be a logical choice.

The Turkish AH-1W Super Cobras received the ASELSAN Helicopter Electronic Warfare System (HEWS) and some were fitted with the ROKETSAN Tactical Missile Launching Weapon System (TMLS), making them capable of launching UMTAS and CİRİT missiles. Despite these upgrades it is to be expected that the Turkish Navy will overhaul the aircraft before putting them in service.

Initially, the Turkish Army received ten AH-1W of which four crashed.

Serial c/n Last noted Remarks Memo
10600 26246 jan 13 ex USMC 163921 d/d jul 90
10601 26247 mar 09 ex USMC 163922 d/d jul 90
10602 26248 jun 16 ex USMC 163923 d/d 1991
10603 26250 jun01 ex USMC 163925 d/d 1991
10604 26253   ex USMC 163928 w/o 18may97
10605 26299? jun16 ex USMC 165037 d/d 1993, tie-up not confirmed
10606 26300 apr 00 ex USMC 165038 d/d 1993
10607 26301? jul 20 ex USMC 165039 d/d 1993, tie up not confirmed
10608 26302   ex USMC 165040 d/d jan94, w/o 13may16
10609 26303? mar 09 ex USMC 165041 d/d jan94, tie-up not confirmed
1060.       w/o 24feb08
1060.       w/o 23feb03

In 2012, an extra batch of three Super Cobras was supplied as attrition replacement. They were delivered in September 2012 by air and they received serials in the style that the Turkish Army Aviation currently uses, with a “fiscal year” prefix.

Serial c/n  Last noted Remarks Memo
94-5052 29177   ex USMC 165052 serial unconfirmed
95-5286 26334   ex USMC 165287 serial unconfirmed
95-5292 26340 may14  ex USMC 165292 serial confirmed

They are all operated by Taarruz Helikopter Taburu (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 3rd Filo from Isparta but most are forward operated by the Hakkari Mountain and Commando Brigade in the east of the country.

Picture: Marco Dijkshoorn

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