Bell completed the first AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter for the Kingdom of Bahrain last month.
The rotorcraft manufacturer delivered the first of 12 production aircraft to the USA’s Naval Air Systems Command as part of the 2019 foreign military sales (FMS) contract at the end of September. The helicopter will be prepared for shipment to Bahrain with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) before being transported to Bahrain in 2022.
“This is an extraordinary achievement by the H-1 Program and brings the Royal Bahraini Air Force a step closer to fielding the advanced capabilities of the AH-1Z,” said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. “The men and women of Team Viper, a group of premier suppliers, have done an exceptional job of delivering to the US Government, on time and on contract.”
Bell designed the AH-1Z Viper specifically to meet the operational requirements of the US Marine Corps, which focus on full marinization and a reduced logistical footprint. The aircraft has a fully integrated glass cockpit and the ability to carry a wide variety of munitions.
The composite rotor system further enhances the Viper’s ability to provide close air support to ground forces in any environment, while the fully integrated Target Sight System enhances pilots’ capabilities to identify clearly, acquire, track and engage targets beyond maximum weapon range.
“The Viper will provide significant benefits to the Bahrain Defence Force as they modernize their fleet of attack helicopters,” said Deslatte. “Having a proven state-of-the-art platform will help contribute to the security of Bahrain while improving interoperability with U.S. forces.”
Bell continues to work to deliver aircraft to the US Marine Corps, Bahrain and Czech Republic. International military sales of the AH-1Z bring the dedicated capabilities of the aircraft directly to international operators and help increase interoperability and amplify effectiveness of allied forces, said Bell.
The company also keeps the H-1 up to date with planned capability improvements designed to ensure the Viper maintains its strategic technological edge throughout its service life.