Two Marine pilots were killed on Saturday night near Yuma, Arizona, when their USMC Viper (Bell AH-1Z Viper) attack helicopter crashed in what the USMC described as a “single aircraft mishap.” Their names will not be released until 24 hours after notification of next-of-kin.
The Marine Corps Air Station reported that the crash occurred at around 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, in the vicinity of Yuma, Arizona. They were said to be “conducting a routine training mission” as part of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course (WTI) 2-19 at the time of the crash.
According to the DefPost,
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is an American twin-engine attack helicopter, based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, that was developed for the U.S. Marine Corps as part of the H-1 upgrade program.
The AH-1Z features a four-blade, bearingless, composite main rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system.
Bellflight.com described the AH-1Z Viper:
The Bell AH-1Z is built to meet the expeditionary requirements of the United States Marine Corps. With virtually identical front and rear glass cockpits, fully integrated weapons, avionics and communications systems, the marinized Bell AH-1Z flies with the most advanced aircraft weapons and survivability equipment in the world. The Zulu is the only attack helicopter in the world with a fully-integrated air-to-air missile capability. Target identification is crucial in the modern battlefield. The Bell AH-1Z’s Target Sight System provides the longest range and highest accuracy of any helicopter sight in the world.
We will update this article when the names of the two Marines are released. The Marine Corps is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash.