For the last five years, the marines have been working on this new aircraft. Basically, the AH-1Z is created by remanufacturing older AH-1T/W attack helicopters into AH-1Z models. This produces a helicopter with a 10,000 hours (in the air) airframe, new engines, new electronics and an updated and much more effective gunship. The marines plan to have 189 AH-1Zs by 2020. This will include 131 remanufactured AH-1Ws and 58 AH-1Zs that will be manufactured new. The goal of the AH-1Z program was not only to deliver a much more capable aircraft, but also to have an 84 percent commonality of parts with the updated UH-1 transport helicopter that the marines also use, thus greatly reducing maintenance costs. The AH-1Z can operate around the clock, in all kinds of weathers. Sorties last about two hours each and cruising speed is 248 kilometers an hour.

External Link