Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has started production of the first AH-1Z Viper for the Czech Republic at Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center. The production of the Viper joins UH-1Y production as part of the Czech Republic Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of mixed fleet aircraft. Bell’s work beyond aircraft manufacturing includes building a flight training device for the Czech Republic, essential to integrating the new helicopters into the Czech Air Force. Bell began production on the Czech Republic UH-1Y in 2021, marking the first production for an international operator of the UH-1Y.
“Bell understands what it means to execute a successful international program,” said Mike Deslatte, vice president, and H-1 program director, Bell. “We understand the importance of providing the unmatched capability of the H-1 aircraft to our customers. Bell remains focused on producing exceptional combat aircraft and providing modern capabilities for the Czech Air Force as a partner in the H-1 program, along with the U.S. Government.”
The Czech Republic’s purchase of both the AH-1Z and UH-1Y takes full advantage of the 85 percent commonality between parts and enables full mission capabilities between both aircraft. Reducing the logistics, maintenance, and training costs of the AH-1Z and UY-1Y helicopters, while offering a lethal combination of integrated weapons systems to counter ground, air, and maritime targets effectively. Bell is actively producing AH-1Zs for the U.S. Marines Corps and the Kingdom of Bahrain. In total, the H-1 program is on track to produce 217 AH-1Zs and 168 UH-1Ys, with more than 100 consecutive H-1s delivered on time for the USMC and FMS customers.
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, AIM-9 Sidewinder, or AGM-114 Hellfire quad missile launchers.