The AH-1 Cobra is the world’s first dedicated armed attack helicopter. During the early months of the Vietnam War many helicopters were lost to ground fire.

The need for an armed gunship to protect unarmed helicopters quickly became apparent. Heavily armed, highly maneuverable, and quick, the AH-1 proved to be a powerful combatant through the rest of the war. Its precedent-setting design led to many other variations including some two-engine models. Other manufacturers later developed other armed helicopters.

The AH-1 Cobra was armed with 2.75 inch (70mm) Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFARs) in M158 seven-tube or M200 nineteen-tube rocket launchers, and a chin-mounted turret on the M28/M28A1 armament subsystem. The stub-pylons can be outfitted with Mini-gun pods, anti-tank missiles, and a variety of mission-specific weaponry.