Bell Textron Bell AH-1Z Viper and H-1Y Venom Helicopters
Bell Textron Bell AH-1Z Viper and H-1Y Venom Helicopters

Bell Textron to Support Bahraini and Czech UH-1Y/AH-1Z Helicopters

Bell Textron has won a $23 million contract to support UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters operated by the U.S. military, Bahrain and Czech Republic. This order provides engineering and logistics support, procures four resident integrated logistics support detachment computer seats, trailer lease site for flight test engineers, support equipment workaround material and aircraft wiring integration remote terminal and flight control computer test station material in support of Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1Z; the governments of Bahrain and the Czech Republic UH-1Y and AH-1Z production aircraft; and USMC UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft modifications and sustainment. Work is expected to be completed in February 2022.

Bell Textron had secured a deal from the Czech Republic for a total of 12 military rotorcraft: eight UH-1Ys for utility helicopters and four AH-1Z attack helicopters. Prague has now accepted the terms of the Kc14.6 billion ($600 million) contract – which also includes weapons, spare parts and training – becoming the first export customer for the UH-1Y. The country’s current inventory includes 19 Mil Mi-17s and 15 Mi-24s; Prague indicated in September that it had selected the combined H-1 offer over the rival Sikorsky UH-60. No details of the delivery timeframe were revealed, although the Czech Republic has previously given 2023 as its target for receipt of the first aircraft.

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Bell UH-1Y Venom Super Huey Helicopter
Bell UH-1Y Venom Super Huey Helicopter

Bahrain had confirmed its order for 12 Bell AH-1Z Vipers, six months after the US Department of State approved the deal, worth an estimated $912 million, under the Foreign Military Sales process. Bell Textron started to acquire the long lead parts that will lead in 2021 to the assembly of the first aircraft. Air-to-surface armament should include Lockheed Martin Hellfire missiles and BAE Systems APKWS (Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System) 70 mm guided rockets. Bell plans to deliver the first four aircraft in 2021, the remaining eight being delivered the following year, the last being scheduled for August. To date the Royal Bahraini Air Force fields 22 AH-1 E/F Cobra and eight AH-1P.

The AH-1Z Viper is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the AH-1W SuperCobra that features a four-blade rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system. It has upgraded avionics, weapons, and electro-optical sensors designed to find targets at long ranges and attack them with precision weapons. The UH-1Y Venom helicopter also called the Super Huey is a twin-engined, medium-sized utility helicopter designed to replace the U.S. Marine Corps UH-1N Twin Huey light utility helicopters, first introduced in the early 1970s. The AH-1Z and UH-1Y are party of the USMC H-1 upgrades program to build new helicopters, as well as rebuilding legacy AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters and UH-1N Twin Huey utility helicopters.

Bell AH-1Z Viper Attack helicopter
Bell AH-1Z Viper Attack helicopter
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