Iran unveils its latest helicopter Toufan 2: an indigenous AH-1 Cobra

Toufan 2 (English for Storm 2), is the name of Iran‘s latest combat helicopter that was unveiled on Jan. 2 on the sixth and final day of naval exercises spanning the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean, during a ceremony attended by the country’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi.

Tehran claims the “chopper belongs to a new generation of combat helicopters and enjoys modern and advanced technologies, including high-precision targeting capability,” however the chopper seems to be just a new version of the American made AH-1J Cobra that Iran procured in 1971.

Image credit: FARS News Agency

The Toufan 2 is a domestically upgraded Cobra developed by the Iranian Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO). The main difference from the version already in service is the Electro Optical Surveillance and Tracking System that is believed to use FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) technology, visible electro-optical imagery, as well as laser designation and illumination to provide target identification, ranging and tracking capability.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. It doesn’t matter whether the chopper is a ‘copycat’ or ‘upgraded’ version of the Cobra… the fact of the matter is, is it as “Lethal” as one?

    • No.

      It’s good for killing unarmed civilians but really it’s just a target for any superior training, tactics, and equipment.

      • You are talking about the american helicopter which shoot at civilians in Iraq? The one which appeared in the media and became a scandal?

    • I don’t believe so. I’m guessing they’re doing what the Chinese are doing to build up their arms industry: Reverse Engineer and upgrade the stuff you got from the bigger nations.

      • Sure they’re advancing and one day they’ll finally nail 1980’s tech. I can assure you that the US AH-1 Super Cobras are far more advanced than this cheap knock-off and this is the country which claims it’s going to reverse engineer the RQ-170 Sentinel, don’t make me laugh.

        • “He who laughs last, laugh’s longest”…. Feeling as though you are in for an imminent war fuels innovation. Iran recognises that the US is looking at them to try to think if they could invade (ala Iraq). Iran knows they can not defeat the might of the US military, bu it sure as hell will give it a bloodier nose than the Iraqis did…

          • >bu it sure as hell will give it a bloodier nose than the Iraqis did…

            Really? With helicopters? Ever hear of an AWACS and F-15s? Or F-35s? or F-22s? All of which would have a turkey shoot knocking out Iranian choppers. By the time the Iranians even had the opportunity to _use_ their AH-1 knock offs they would have already had their “air force” pounded into the stone age. Helicopters, no matter who makes them, aren’t much good if they’re in thousands of little pieces thanks to a JDAM.

            Read this:

            US aircraft: 15,293 –

            Iran aircraft:1,858 –

            US Helicopter: 6,665 –

            Iran Helicopter: 800 –

            And don’t forget about a little guy called the B2 that would remove any pesky C&C bunkers before the first attack aircraft even got its feet dry.

            You’re right, Iran could not defeat the US, and as soon as word gets around how badly they’re getting the #*$! kicked outa them, they’ll be surrendering faster than a revolutionary guard squad can execute a class of students in Tahrir square. I mean, who wants to get carpet bombed by a B-52 in the middle of the night! For that matter, who in Iran even wants to fight for the mullahs!?

            >Feeling as though you are in for an imminent war fuels innovation.

            Or in the case of Iran, it fuels Photoshopped missile launchers and model “stealth” aircraft. It’s all a lie, I’m sure you already know that though.

            • I am sure you are very happy with yourself that your country tries to attack a much smaller country, iran is the size of alaska,,,,,iran will use these choppers and its jets to fly below radar and fire anti ship missiles before this war is over many american ship will be sitting at bottom of persian gulf and many body bags will be sent back to mommies.
              iranians dont fight a classic warfare they will inflict a great cassulty rate on their opponents, its not iraq to try to fight classic, no dog fight, tank vs tank, just maximum effort to barage you with their thousands of missiles and particularly sink your warships with their submarines and cruise missiles fired from different platforms

              • Nobody wants to attack Iran. All we want is for Iran to prove that Iran is not doing what it claims to have no interest in doing anyways. Why is that so hard?

                Iran would fair slightly better than Iraq did. Only because American bases in the region and Israel would take hits from the missiles they could not shoot down. At those ranges… the accuracy is questionable and its unclear how much damage this would cause. Otherwise, the end result would be mostly the same.

                The Navy wouldnt be touched. The carriers and warships wont be in the Persian Gulf… they will be 400 miles away, off the Iranian coast, far out of missile and diesel sub range but well within fighter strike range. Iran wouldnt even be able to locate them, let alone mount an attack. There probably wouldnt be a ground invasion, just a sustained aerial campaign that would leave Iran’s air defenses, navy and nuclear infrastructure in ruins. Bury the nuke sites in mountains all you want, you still need to be able to come and go from them. Bunker busters tend to make that difficult.

                Wars now are fought with air superiority. Iran simply has no ability to challenge US fighters, either in the air or from the ground.

                • Iran has superior defense ability to the USA, first of all they are clearly a nation blessed by God, second of all defense ability and Offense capability are separate issues,, and we all know that the USA is a war monger and guilty of Offenses. everyone knows that USA is a Liar.

            • Can you please explain how US is supposed to bring its 15,293 aircraft and 6,665 Helicopters to attack Iran
              Even combined with Israel and Saudi Arabian airbases and bringing all of the Aircraft carriers is hard or even impossible

              Iran can destroy many undefended Airbases becuase they have better missiles than Iraqi Scuds
              US allies will be attacked from all sides by Houthis ,Hezbullah ,Hamas , Palastinian Islamic Resistance and hundreds of other Iranian Proxies and missiles will be raining down on them day and night

  2. Not sure why people are surprised. Reverse engineering a working older design, and upgrading it provides a fairly reliable product, for pennies on the dollar. And it gives you a great start point to build off and improve. It’s much easier and cheaper and faster than trying to build something from scratch.

    • People are surprised because of the claims: even if they can be upgraded warbirds will never be as advanced as most modern aircraft

      • I wasn’t aware anyone was making a claim of any sort of parity between Iran’s reverse engineered/upgraded fighters, choppers, ships, or anything at all to modern high end weapons systems. That having been said…it shouldn’t take away from the significance of the Iranian’s ability to now build these things on their own. In time they will learn more from it, and upgrade it, and be more competitive. Until such a time, they’re saving a ton of money on building semi-effective gear.

        This also reminds me of the Spanish Armada. As nice, big, expensive, and modern as the Spanish fleet was, it was still routed by the small fishermen’s boats thrown at them by Britain. But essentially, you’re right. Iran’s military industry is in its infancy compared to the big guns. But how many countries do you know that even have a military industry that attempts to indigenously create the entirety of its arms? I think the fact that we’re even comparing them to the United States makes them giddy.

  3. It’s nice to see that the Iranians still like to fiddle with their pre revolutionary American equipment since they could have bought newer Russian choppers.

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