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Rattler (G.I. Joe)

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Cobra Rattler with Wild Weasel
General characteristics
ClassGround Attack Jet
ArmamentsTwin 40mm multiple-fire cannons, EO-18 Electro-Optical Renegade missiles, AEA-56 quick thrust short-range missiles, PL-MK48 wave-sensor cluster bombs, CDV-9B "Jawbreaker" nose cannon, Lorads constant-scan ion-seeking missiles
DefensesTitanium armorplate cockpit and engine skins
PropulsionHigh-bypass continuous radio turbofan engine
Length53 ft 4 in (16.26 m)
Width57 ft 6 in (17.53 m)
Height14 ft 8 in (4.47 m)

The Cobra Rattler[1] is a fictional VTOL attack aircraft from the universe of G.I. Joe.


Original version[edit]

Based on the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, it originally appeared in 1984 as the primary attack plane of the terrorist Cobra Organization.[2] The toy came with a mercenary Cobra pilot codenamed "Wild Weasel" and was intended as Cobra's answer to the "G.I. Joe Skystriker," which had been added to the toyline a year earlier (which was itself a virtual copy of the USN F-14 Tomcat — the Skystriker was designated as an "XP-14F").

As mentioned, the Cobra Rattler was clearly based on the A-10 Thunderbolt II. Primary modifications included moving the A-10's fuselage-mounted engines to the wings (in order to facilitate a VTOL system in which the Rattler's wings pivoted on their axis to redirect engine exhaust downwards),[3] the addition of a third engine, mounted on the back of the plane between the vertical tail stabilizers, and the addition of a dorsal-mounted, manned gun turret.[4]

Although ostensibly remaining a ground-attack aircraft like the A-10, in both the cartoon and comic book the Rattler was often depicted more as a fighter. This was undoubtedly due in part to the lack of a more appropriate Cobra fighter being produced by Hasbro early on in the toyline; however, it was also likely due to the rivalry, depicted in both the comic book and cartoons, between the Rattler pilot "Wild Weasel" and the Skystriker pilot "Ace". Regardless, the plane would become Cobra's primary aircraft throughout most of the original cartoons and comic books, and indeed perhaps one of the most iconic and well-remembered models from the toyline.

The original toy version of the Cobra Rattler came armed with dorsal-mounted dual machine guns turret, a nose-mounted anti-tank Gatling gun, four air-to-air missiles, two large anti-tank bombs, two anti-tank bombs with detachable warheads, and two bomb racks with three bombs each.[5]

Other versions[edit]

The mold used for the Cobra Rattler was reused in 1988 to make the "Tiger Rat" as part of the G.I. Joe special missions force "Tiger Force" (with pilot "Skystriker").[6] In 1997, it was released again as the "A-10 Thunderbolt" (with pilots "Ace" and "General Hawk"), and once again in 2002 as the "Cobra Rattler" with pilot "Wild Weasel". Each new version has included a new paint job and new pilots. The 2002 model also included slight modifications to include electronic sound.

Also, the "Rattler" name has also been used for a 1998 repaint of the Cobra "Stinger" Jeep.


Marvel Comics[edit]

A Rattler is used to attack the funeral of General Flagg. It is shot down by Duke and Roadblock before anyone is hurt. The pilot is killed; the plane crashes into an open field.[7]

The rivalry between Wild Weasel and Ace began with one of the Rattler's earliest appearances in the Marvel Comics series, issue #34 ("Shake Down!"), when Wild Weasel ambushes Ace, initiating a dog fight over suburban New Jersey.[8]

Wild Weasel and a Techno-Viper fly patrol in a Rattler during the conflict surrounding the fictional country of Benzheen. They attempt to shoot down the Joe pilot Ghostrider but are themselves shot down by Rampart and Backblast. Both pilots survive.[9]

Devil's Due Publishing[edit]

In a re-imagining of the Transformers: Generation One story published by Devil's Due, the Autobot ship Ark was discovered by the terrorist Cobra organization. All the Transformers inside were formatted into Cobra vehicles and were to be remotely controlled by the Televipers, Cobra soldiers proficient in communication systems. The Decepticons Skywarp and Thundercracker were given the alternate modes of Rattler jets.


The Joes' use of a Rattler helps save the fictional Keystone City in 'Cobra Claws Are Coming To Town'.[10]

In 'An Eye For An Eye', the crash of a Rattler directly results in a civilian's rampage against Cobra.[11]

'Excalibur'; a damaged Rattler, being piloted by Storm Shadow, sinks and lands several feet away from King Arthur's legendary sword.[12]


  1. "Cobra Rattler". Yojoe.com. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
  2. Santelmo, Vincent (1994). The Official 30th Anniversary Salute To G.I. Joe 1964-1994. Krause Publications. p. 100. ISBN 0-87341-301-6. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. "Cobra Rattler (Ground Attack Jet) Box Back". Yojoe.com. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
  4. "Cobra Rattler (Ground Attack Jet) VTOL Isometric Views". Yojoe.com. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
  5. Bellomo, Mark (2005). The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994. Krause Publications. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-89689-922-3. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. Bellomo, Mark (2005). The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994. Krause Publications. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-89689-922-3. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  7. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Vol1 #22 (April 1984)
  8. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Vol1 #34
  9. "G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero" Vol1 #115 (August 1991)
  10. "Cobra Claws Are Coming To Town". G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
  11. "An Eye For An Eye". G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
  12. "Excalibur". G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.


External links[edit]

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