Central Command said in a statement, ”Two Marine pilots were killed in the crash of their AH-1W “Super Cobra” attack helicopter in central Iraq at approximately 12:19 a.m Saturday morning (8:19 a.m. Iraq time).”
“Preliminary indications are that the crash was not a result of hostile fire. The cause of the crash is under investigation.”
U.S. authorities said they would not release the names of those killed until their next-of-kin had been notified.
The heavily armored, two-seat Super Cobra is used to attack tanks and ground targets and used to aid U.S. forces.
“The Marines depend on attack helicopters to provide close-in fire support coordination in serial and ground escort operations,” a Federation of American Scientist Web site on the Cobra said.
The helicopter is also built to withstand small arms fire and other gunfire from the ground.