Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has successfully completed its 100th consecutive on-time delivery of the AH-1Z aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps, which began nearly four years ago. Bell accomplished this milestone through tight coordination with its manufacturing and assembly facilities, UAW 218, numerous suppliers, and government partners. The H-1 series consists of the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom, which provide light attack and utility helicopter support to the Marines while maintaining a small logistical footprint through the 85% commonality between the airframes.
“Performance like this takes a lot of work, communication, and trust to ensure alignment between numerous partners, all working toward the same objective. I could not be more proud of our Bell employees.” said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. “Our front line workers, engineers, and supply chain professionals all help support the Marines. Their work designing, manufacturing, and assembling critical components while ensuring quality parts reach the production line on time help the Marines ensure our nation’s security.”
“This is a feat only possible through the determination of our production team and the program’s strong relationship with our industry partners and suppliers,” said Col Vasilios Pappas, PMA-276 program manager.
Bell and its Team Viper / Venom partners collaborate with the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter program (PMA-276) to provide integrated solutions and increase combat lethality and readiness. Bell is currently working toward the U.S. Marine Corps program of record (POR) and anticipates production of Marine Corps H-1 through 2022. The U.S. Marine Corps H-1 production contract is for 349 aircraft, consisting of 160 UH-1Y and 189 AH-1Z. Bell will continue manufacturing aircraft for foreign military customers including contracts for Bahrain AH-1Zs and a mixed Czech Republic fleet of both AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is an American twin-engine attack helicopter, based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, that was developed for the United States Marine Corps as part of the H-1 upgrade program. The AH-1Z features a four-blade, bearingless, composite main rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system. The AH-1Z, one of the latest members of the prolific Bell Huey family, is also called “Zulu Cobra”, based on the military phonetic alphabet pronunciation of its variant letter. Each wing has two other stations for 2.75-inch (70 mm) Hydra 70 rocket pods, or AGM-114 Hellfire quad missile launchers.