Thursday the 28th May, marked the arrival of 2 AH-1 Huey Cobra attack helicopters to join the growing HARS fleet. The Cobra’s have returned home to undergo a complete restoration, and will be placed on display in the Museum entrance.
Although Australia’s armed forced did not operate the AH-1, the Cobra earned a formidable reputation in support of combined US/Australian ground operations in the Vietnam war. Cobra operations also included “Hunter Killer” teams, pairing AH-1′s with OH-6 scout helicopters which would fly low and slow, luring ground fire, at which point the Cobra teams would dive in destroying the revealed targets.
The AH-1 Huey Cobra saw action in the Tet Offensive in 1968 and served through to the end of the Vietnam war. Army Cobra’s went on to serve in Operation Fury in 1983 (the invasion of Grenada) and the US invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause) in 1989. In 1990 over 140 Huey Cobra’s were deployed in Operation Desert Shield and in 1991 with Operation Desert Storm.
Aside from its venerable military record, the Huey Cobra served as a humanitarian intervention tool during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia of 1993.
The fate of the AH-1 was decided in 1997 with the US Army recommendation to retire it from active service. The last active US Army AH-1 was retired in March of 1999 and last reserve AH-1′s in September of 2001, bringing an end to the Cobra’s 33 years of US military service.