The Bell AH-1S Cobra is a two-blade, single-engine attack helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It serves as a primary attack helicopter of JSDF Special Region Expeditionary Force.
The development of the Bell AH-1 is closely related to the Bell UH-1 Iroquois and the theory of air cavalry. While the UH-1 is a transport helicopter for carrying troops to designed locations, the AH-1's duty is to escort the fleet of UH-1, provide fire support for ground forces and other role.
The AH-1S, which is in service of JSDF, is an improved version of the AH-1Q. 89 AH-1S were manufactured under license by Fuji Heavy Industries from 1984 to 2000. Though JSDF has a more advanced model of attack helicopters, The AH-1S is chosen for deployment in Special Region to save cost and if necessary, be abandoned easily.
Combat history (Japan)
First used during the Ginza incident, five Cobra attack helicopters were dispatched from Ichiyaga along with other SDF forces. The role of the Cobra during the incident was seen as to retake control the skies of Ginza from dragons as well as provide CAS (close air support) to the troops on the ground. 20mm Gatling mounted on the nose of the cobra easily penetrated and killed the dragons and the skies over Ginza were clear in a matter of minutes.
Combat history (Special Region)
Although not used extensively during the initial SDF expedition into the Special region other than patrolling the skies around the Special Task Force's base. It was used to great effect during the Siege of Italica. As part of the 4th Combat unit's role as CAS aircraft when responding to the 3rd Recon Team's request for backup, they also became the first in the combat unit to open fire on the enemy. A Cobra gunship fired TOW missiles at the enemies near the gates of the city, before the rest of the unit moved in, providing heavy fire support with their 20mm Gatling guns and Hydra-70 rockets. The Cobra gunships, along with UH-1J Multi-purpose Helicopters mounted with M2 Browning .50 caliber machine guns, caused severe casualties among the attacking forces and forced them into retreat.
Cobra helicopters were later deployed to fire TOW missiles at the offspring of the Flame Dragon, which, along with artillery fire and F-4 Phantom fighter jets, easily killed the two dragons.