Golden Age Weaponsmiths AH-1Z Viper:

The Bell AH-1 Cobra was the first United States attack helicopter first entering service in 1967, first serving in Vietnam. The helicopter was the primary United States Army attack helicopter until replaced by the AH-64 Apache. Still, twin engine versions of it, known as the Super Cobra, served in the United States Marines Corp and other nations for decades before being retired. It served in many battle fronts in addition to Vietnam including Panama and Iraq. Some even found their way into forestry service roles for fire fighting.

The AH-1Z Viper improved on the Cobra in a number of ways in addition to having twin engines instead of a single engine. It has a four blade bearing less composite main rotor, uprated transmission, and updated electronics. Longer stub wings were also fitted. Some were upgraded from already serving AH-1W Cobra while others were new construction. These helicopters served in Marine Corp until the revolution in high strength made them obsolete. At this point, it was decided that it would be more cost effective to replace them with a high strength composite version of the RAH-66 Comanche instead of rebuilding the helicopters with both the Army and Marines adopting the Comanche. A small number of export versions of the AH-1 using high strength composites and alloys were produced however.

As with several fighters, these helicopters were carefully stored in protected hangers instead of being scrapped incase it was decided that they would need to be restored for service. Surprisingly, many of these helicopters survived until the coming of the Rifts. A group of adventures found the cache of helicopters and sold the location of them to Golden age Weaponsmiths. The company decided to recover the attack helicopters and restore them to service.

As with the AH-64 Apache, the attack helicopter is quite popular. No real effort was made to sell these helicopters to the Coalition but both smaller nations and mercenary companies. Soon after being refitted, most of the helicopters have been sold. It is so popular than Golden Age is likely considering manufacturing new airframes of the Viper design. In some ways it is considered a simpler design than the AH-64 Apache.

.Like the AH-64 Apache, the AH-1Z Viper was not armored for modern combat. Golden Age Weaponsmiths remedied this by adding additional armor, replacing the original armor in most cases, and reinforcing the helicopter with advanced composites and alloys. Still, the attack helicopter is nowhere near as tough as a modern helicopter would be. New manufacture AH-1Z Vipers would likely solve this problem to a large degree.

The engines and electronics need to be fully reconditioned on these helicopters. After reconditioning so many other aircraft, the company are experts at reconditioning both engines and electronic systems. In some cases, the electronic systems are completely replaced with more modern electronics. Although basically civilian systems, these systems are often much smaller than those that they replace. Fuel systems already were certified for bio-fuels before being retired. Performance between the AH-1Z Viper and the AH-64D Apache are similar although the air frame can take greater speeds in the AH-1Z Viper.

Instead of a single barrel 30 mm gun, the AH-1Z mounts a three barrel 20 mm M197 Vulcan Cannon. It uses the same ammunition as most of the fighters refitted by Golden Age Weaponsmiths. This simplified the ammo situation with replacing the original ammunition with Wellington Industries ramjet ammunition A total of three hundred and fifty rounds are carried. The mount is able to either side up to one hundred and ten degrees, twenty-one degrees in elevation, and depress down to fifty degrees. It is generally controlled by the co pilot but the mount can be controlled by the pilot as well. Can also be fixed forward.

The helicopter mounts two stub wings. Each stub wing has a hard point out on the end and two points under each. Originally the "wing tip" hard point was designed to carry a single Sidewinder missile and the twin "under wing" hard points were designed to carry either Hydra rocket pods or hour Hellfire anti-tank missiles. These have been refitted so that they can carry standard Rifts missile types. One medium range or two short range missiles can be carried on each wingtip. Four short range missiles or a single mini-missile pod can be carried on each underwing hard point. Each pod has a capacity for sixteen mini-missiles total.

Model Number: AH-1Z+
Vehicle Type: Attack Helicopter
Crew: Two (Pilot and Co-Pilot / Gunner)

M.D.C. by Location:

Forward M197 20 mm Vulcan Gun (Under Cockpit):30
Missile Racks Stub Wings (2):30 each
[1] Main Rotor (Four Blade):32 (8 per blade)
[1] Tail:40
Landing Skids (2):10 each
Reinforced Cockpit:60
[2] Main Body:110

[1] Destroying the rear rotor or one of the main blades will cause the helicopter to fly at half speed, wobble and is -6 to parry, -3 to strike, and -40% on piloting skill/maneuvers. Smart pilots will land as soon as possible. Destroying the main top rotor will knock the helicopter out of the sky! Roll under the piloting skill -30% for a successful crash landing (due to the reinforced nature of the AH-1Z Viper, crew takes only 1/2 damage from an impact.
[2] Destroying the main body knocks the helicopter out of the sky and renders it completely useless.

Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Cannot taxi. Does not mount wheels but instead has skids. Only time a moving landing might be tried is the helicopter has taken damage which prevents hovering. Helicopter can land and take off from primitive air fields.
Flying: Hover to 242 mph (210 knots / 389 kph) with a ceiling of 20,000 feet (6,100 meters) Cruise speed is 170 mph (148 knots / 274 kph.) The helicopter has great maneuverability and vertical take off and landing capabilities.
Range: Has a combat range of 426 miles (370 nautical miles / 685 kilometers) with ordnance load. Can fly for approximately three and a half hours. The helicopter has approximately 20% better range when the Viper is carrying no ordnance. Can also carry up to four 378 liter fuel tanks (Extends range by 100 miles / 86.9 nautical miles / 160.9 kilometers each) or 291 liter fuel tanks (Extends range by 77 miles / 66.9 nautical miles / 123.9 kilometers each.)
The helicopter cannot be refueled in the air.

Statistical Data:
Height: 14 feet 4 inches (4.37 meters)
Rotor Width: 48 feet (14.6 meters)
Length: 58 feet 3 inches (17.8 meters) - includes rotors.
Weight: 12,300 pounds (5,579 kg) empty and 18,500 pounds (8,390 kg) maximum take off
Power System: Conventional, Two 1,340 kW (1,800 shp) General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshafts, uses aviation fuel.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) in cockpit, does not include hard points.
Black Market Cost: 800,000 credits (Can sometimes sell for double that price)

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) 20 mm General Dynamics M197 Gatling Gun: This is the original Pre-Rifts 20 mm cannon mounted in the front of the helicopter. Three barreled, it is mounted near the nose of the helicopter and is controlled by the copilot. Gun can rotate one hundred and ten degrees to either side, twenty-one degrees up, and fifty degrees downwards. It can also be fixed forward on the helicopter. Gun is generally controlled by the co-pilot but can also be controlled by the pilot. They have replaced the standard ammo with Wellington Industries mega damage, armor piercing ramjet ammunition which allows the aircraft to hold it own against many other Rifts aircraft and helicopters in firepower. Uses the same ammunition as most fighters converted by Golden Age Weaponsmiths.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega Damage: 1D6x10 for a burst of 30 round, 2D4 for each round.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5) - generally co-pilot but can be controlled by the pilot as well.
    Payload: 750 rounds (25 bursts).
  2. Two (2) Missile Hard Points: The A-1Z Viper has two hard points on the tips of the stub wings. The hard points can only carry missiles, not bombs. Each hard point can carry either one medium range missile of two short range missiles. These hard points were originally designed to carry AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, Medium or Short range missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies with missile types (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2) missiles.
    Payload: One (1) medium range missile or two (2) short range missiles per hard point. Maximum total of two (2) medium range missiles or four (4) short range missiles
  3. Four (4) Ordnance Hard Points: The A-1Z Viper has a total of two hard points under each stub wing. The helicopter can carry either four short range missiles or one mini missile pod on each of these hard point. Originally designed to carry Hellfire anti-tank missiles and Hydra-70 rocket pods.
    1. Short Range Missiles: The Apache cannot carry medium or long range missiles on theses hard points.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies by short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies by short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired one at a time per hard point. Multiple hard points can be linked as one attack but must all be short range missiles.
      Payload: Four (4) short range missiles per hard point (for a maximum of 16 short range missiles)
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. These pods are not carried on the body of the aircraft but are only carried on the wings. The aircraft normally carries missile pods for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies with mini-missile types.
      Rate of Fire: Each pod can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16 - all.) and can be linked with other mini missile pods for greater number of missiles (Counts as one attack no matter how many missiles in volley.)
      Payload: Each pod carries sixteen (16) mini-missiles.
  4. One (1) Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser: Use the same effects as the TRIAX model. However, each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not operate effectively against Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      51-75 Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      76-00 No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half. Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
    Payload: 20 chaff, 40 flares. Each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares.

Special Equipment:
The equipment of the AH-1Z Viper has been upgraded but many of the original systems are still on the helicopter. Consider the helicopter to carry all standard equipment that robot vehicles carry (not including loudspeaker and microphone) plus the following extra systems:

Combat Bonuses:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2012, Kitsune. All rights reserved.