June 6, 2014: Israel recently revealed that it is replacing its fleet of 33 elderly AH-1 helicopter gunships with armed UAVs. Actually this has been going on for some time, Israel has just kept quiet about the change. It all began in April 2013 when Israel briefly grounded its 30 or so AH-1 helicopter gunships. The AH-1 suffered a rotor failure and both crewmen died in the crash. The grounding was lifted when it was discovered that the rotor failure was a unique event and not part of a flaw found in all the AH-1s. But at the same time air force planners pointed out that UAVs were increasingly being sent to carry out surveillance missions long handled by the AH-1s. Moreover, the UAVs could stay in the air longer (over 12 hours compared to about 90 minutes for the AH-1s) and were cheaper to operate and did not expose Israeli pilots to danger. So the air force decided to stop using the AH-1s (except for emergencies) and see if UAVs could effectively replace the choppers. The UAVs could and did.