New Lease on life for the Cobra
The AH-1 Cobra was retired from the regular US Army in 1999 and the US Army National Guard in 2001. They had 469 surplus Cobras on their hands and have actually turned a profit getting rid of them. In an article from DID, its detailed how the Army rebuilt these Vietnam era gunships and have sold them all over the world as well as passing on $75-million in parts to the USMC for their more modern AH-1 “Whiskey” variants. Some of the more exotic Cobras are Firewatch Cobras
Domestic customers came from a surprising source. The US Forestry Service bought 25 Bell 209 “Firewatch Cobras,” who use their speed and thermal sensors to monitor fires in real time. State forestry services in Florida, Montana and Washington also bought a few, in Fire Cobra monitoring or “FireSnake” variants which focus on firefighting.
Now thats a chopper…you may see one at a forest fire near you