Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, completed another step in the production of AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters for international customers. Czech Republic Chief of Defense (CHOD) Gen. Aleš Opata and delegates visited Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center in a landmark meeting to observe the Czech Republic H-1 aircraft production line. During the visit, Gen. Opata signed the beams of the first AH-1Z and UH-1Y aircraft that will be delivered to the Czech Republic. Production continues on schedule with all 12 aircraft expected to be complete in 2023.
The Bell AH-1Z and UH-1Y offer advanced capabilities for defense missions and decrease the maintenance and operational footprint due to their 85% commonality. Bell is actively producing AH-1Zs for the U.S. Marine Corps and expects to complete deliveries this year, followed by production for international operators. Bell recently completed the first delivery of four AH-1Z helicopters to the Bahrain Defence Force and expects to complete the first international delivery of the AH-1Z this year.
“Hosting Gen. Opata at our Amarillo Assembly Center allows us to showcase the significant progress Bell has made in aircraft production to support this vital international program and customer. We are honored to continue our great relationship with the Czech Republic as we prepare to provide them with leading defense aircraft and continue the success of the H-1 program,” said Mike Deslatte, H-1 vice president and program director.
“In military operations today, one of the key requirements is to be able to win in both aircraft capabilities and logistics support. There is no better example of two complementary aircraft regularly operating from expeditionary locations and completing as many missions together as the AH-1Z and UH-1Y,” said Nate Green, H-1 program manager.
Bell Textron Inc. is an American aerospace manufacturer headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. A subsidiary of Textron, Bell manufactures military rotorcraft at facilities in Fort Worth, and Amarillo, Texas, as well as commercial helicopters in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada. Textron purchased Bell Aerospace in 1960. Bell Aerospace was composed of three divisions of Bell Aircraft Corporation, including its helicopter division, which had become its only division still producing complete aircraft. The helicopter division was renamed Bell Helicopter Company and in a few years, with the success of the UH-1 Huey during the Vietnam War, it had established itself as the largest division of Textron. In January 1976, Textron changed the division’s name to Bell Helicopter Textron. The company was rebranded as “Bell” on February 22, 2018.