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Live firing training exercise for US Marines Corps UH-1Y Venom and AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters in Albania

According to information released by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venoms and AH-1W Super Cobras assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and attached to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) participated in a live-fire training exercise in Bize, Albania, June 22, 2020.
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Live firing training exercise for US Marines Corps UH 1Y Venoms AH 1W Super Cobras helicopters in Albania 925 001 A U.S. Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 365 (reinforced), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), prepares to engage a target during routine sustainment training June 22, 2020. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

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The exercise was planned alongside Albanian allied forces and consisted of aviation ordnance-delivery training aimed at increasing readiness and reinforcing the partnership between the U.S. and Albania.

Venoms and Super Cobras, commonly referred to as H-1’s, are essential to sea-based air power and air superiority. H-1s, when coupled together, have the ability to provide close-air support, casualty evacuation from remote or austere locations, and transport Marines and Sailors from ship to shore – all from over the horizon.

By utilizing the overland ranges in Albania, UH-1Y Venom and AH-1W Super Cobra pilots assigned to the 26th MEU were able to become more proficient in conducting live-fire tactical maneuvering in a challenging, mountainous environment.

The AH-1W Super Cobra is an attack helicopter used by the U.S. Marine Corps since 1985. This helicopter can be armed with both TOW and Hellfire anti-tank missiles and it was the first attack helicopter qualify to fire both the Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the Sidearm anti-radiation missile.

The AH-1W Super Cobra can also fire the Hydra family of unguided 70mm rockets or the larger 127mm Zuni rocket bombs. A three-barrel 20mm Gatling gun is mounted under the nose used for close-combat engagement with a maximum firing range of 2 km.

The UH-1Y Venom also called Super Huey is a twin-engined, medium-sized utility helicopter, built by Bell Helicopter under the H-1 upgrade program of the United States Marine Corps.

The UH-1Y Venom is a modernized version of the UH-1 design. It features a four-blade, all-composite rotor system designed to withstand up to 23 mm rounds. A 530 mm fuselage extension just forward of the main door has been added for more capacity. This helicopter is also upgraded with new engines and transmissions, a digital cockpit with flat-panel multifunctional displays, and an 84% parts commonality with the AH-1Z. Compared to the UH-1N, the Y-model has an increased payload, almost 50% greater range, a reduction in vibration, and higher cruising speed.

ARG/MEUs (Amphibious ready groups/Marine expeditionary units) operate continuously across the globe and provide the geographic combatant commanders with a forward-deployed, flexible and responsive sea-based MAGTF. The blue-green team is fully capable of conducting operations across a full spectrum of conventional, unconventional and hybrid warfare. Training such as this strengthens the execution of mission-essential tasks alongside NATO allies.

Bataan ARG (Amphibious Ready Group) and 26th MEU consist of more than 4,000 total Sailors and Marines, who are operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.