Textron subsidiary Bell Helicopter has awarded a subcontract to Ducommun to develop and deliver titanium firewall and baffle assemblies for the US Marine Corps' (USMC) AH-1Z Cobra helicopters.
Ducommun chairman president and chief executive officer Anthony Reardon said: "Our expertise in forming complex titanium structures ensures these assemblies will retain their strength in extreme high-temperature operating environments."
Powered by T700-GE-401 turboshaft engines, the AH-1Z aircraft are a part of USMC H-1 upgrade programme, aimed to replace its ageing two-blade AH-1W helicopters.
The Bell Helicopter-developed AH-1Z features a new, four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit.
In addition to providing assault support and air reconnaissance, the AH-1Z cobra helicopter supports anti-air warfare, and electronic warfare missions, as well as control of aircraft and missiles.
Armed with Mk 77 fire bombs, AGM-114F Hellfire anti-ship missiles, 70mm rockets as well as AGM-114A, B, and C Hellfire and anti-tank missiles, the Cobra helicopters are equipped with fuel vapour inerting systems and an AVR-2A laser warning receiver.
The aircraft is integrated with a Lockheed Martin target sight system (TSS), a multi-sensor fire control system to provide enhanced capabilities for pilots, as well as detect, track and engage targets in any climate and location.
Designed for lower maintenance, the AH-1Z helicopter also features fault detection sensors to support 'on-condition' maintenance, better accessibility, and reduced spares storage requirements, as well as elimination of certain maintenance tasks.
The USMC had received the first production AH-1Z helicopter in January 2007.
Work on the contract will be carried out at the company's facility in New York, US, and will run through until 2013.
Image: An AH-1Z showcased at the 2008 MCAS Miramar airshow. Photo: courtesy of Looper5920.