The origins of the Viper can be traced back to the 1960s, when the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter was first introduced into the United States arsenal. Seeing action in Vietnam and later in the Gulf War and elsewhere, the Cobra and its variants would remain in service well into the 21st century.
Even now, close to a century after its introduction, a descendant of the Cobra still remains in use with several branches of the United States military. First introduced in 2010, the AH-1Z Viper is a heavily modernized version of the Cobra, armed with a 20mm gatling cannon, Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and optional Hydra rocket pods.
Various upgrades to avionics and electronics over the years have helped to keep the Viper on par with more modern helicopters, even though its weapons have remained mostly unchanged. As such, in spite of its age, the Viper remains one of the most agile helicopters in service, excellent for scouting, ambushing and harassment.
|Fire a barrage of 20 rockets at the target area in a distance of 220. Each rocket causes 25 to 10 EXPLOSION damage over a radius of 5 to 20. 18 seconds cooldown.|
Requires Rocket Pods.
Despite its small size and very poor armor, the Viper is one of the best helicopters in the game thanks to its cheap price, low build time, extreme speed and surprisingly strong attacks. The Viper's gatling guns are extremely effective against all types of infantry, from Felin Rifleman to Nukeneers, and since it is considered a light unit, it advances in Veterancy very quickly compared to most other helicopters, rendering its gun more and more effective, until it is even able to heavily damage Battlemasters. Additionally, it can be upgraded with Rocket Pods, giving it the ability to fire a cluster of rockets at a target area, extremely effective at taking out large groups of units like the BMP-3 and even Kodiaks. What's more, it is also equipped with anti-air missiles that are fast to target enemies, so in groups they are very effective against Hellions, Ospreys and even Hellfire MiGs. Veterancy will also allow Vipers to quickly repair themselves on the fly, allowing them to effectively take on another group of enemies after being nearly destroyed. When all else fails, Countermeasures can be installed to the Viper allowing it to escape Ural Truck rockets in the nick of time. The Viper is best used in conjunction with the larger Comanche, since the Viper can target air units, allowing it to shoot down enemy interceptor aircraft while the Comanche focuses on enemy ground units.
For all its perks, the Viper truly has one of the worst armors in the game (second only to the Gazelle), and when not powered up via veterancy will be very quickly destroyed by even a lone Quad Cannon. Attacking garrisoned Igla Troopers is out of the question, and upgraded Gattling Cannons will often take out Vipers faster than they can escape. Countermeasures somehow make it easier to avoid death by Kashtans but even an entire group may be taken out by Grumble rockets. When it comes to air-to-air combat, the Viper won't be able to defeat Hinds or Tiger Gunships head-on unless they hit-and-run with their long range, and are easy prey for Berkuts and MiGs. Vipers can be upgraded with Laser Guided Missiles which gives them a 25% more missile damage to fare better against enemy aircraft.
- Before version 22.214.171.124, the Viper was known as the Cobra, which possessed a more angled canopy, a single engine and only two rotor blades.