US Marine Corps Bell AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopter Attack Helicopter
US Marine Corps Bell AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopter Attack Helicopter

US State Department Approves Sale of Bell AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopter to Nigeria

The U.S. State Department has decided to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Nigeria of AH-1Z Attack Helicopter Related FMS Acquisitions and related equipment for an estimated cost of $997 million. The Government of Nigeria has requested to buy twelve (12) AH-1Z Attack Helicopters; twenty-eight (28) T-700 GE 401C engines (24 installed, 4 spares); and two thousand (2,000) Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guidance sections. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a strategic partner in Sub-Saharan Africa. The proposed sale will better equip Nigeria to contribute to shared security objectives, promote regional stability and build interoperability with the U.S. and other Western partners. This sale will be a major contribution to U.S. and Nigerian security goals. Nigeria will have no difficulty absorbing the equipment and services into its armed forces.

Also included is Night Vision Cueing Display (NVCD); commercial variant GPS with Standard Positioning Service (SPS); communication equipment; electronic warfare systems; AN/AVS-9 Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System; M197 20mm machine gun; Target Sight System (TSS); support equipment; spare engine containers; spare and repair parts; tools and test equipment; technical data and publications; personnel training and training equipment; Mission Planning system; U.S. Government and contractor engineering; technical, and logistics support services; U.S. Government and contractor assistance and oversight of facilities construction to include the provisioning of plans, drawings and specifications; $25M of case funds will be allocated for institutional and technical assistance to the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to continue Air-Ground Integration (AGI) program, which includes developing targeting processes that are legally compliant with International Humanitarian Law and the Laws of Armed Conflict; and other related elements of logistics and program support.

US Marine Corps Bell AH-1Z Viper twin-engine attack helicopter

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. The AH-1Z incorporates new rotor technology with upgraded military avionics, weapons systems, and electro-optical sensors in an integrated weapons platform. The AH-1Z’s bearingless, hingeless rotor system has 75% fewer parts than that of four-bladed articulated systems. Its two redesigned wing stubs are longer, with each adding a wingtip station for a missile such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder. Each wing has two other stations for 2.75-inch (70 mm) Hydra 70 rocket pods, or AGM-114 Hellfire quad missile launchers. The AN/APG-78 Longbow fire control radar can also be mounted on a wingtip station.

The Z-model’s integrated avionics system has been developed by Northrop Grumman. The system includes two mission computers and an automatic flight control system. Each crew station has two 8×6-inch multifunction liquid crystal displays (LCD) and one 4.2×4.2-inch dual-function LCD. The communications suite combines a U.S. Navy RT-1824 integrated radio, UHF/VHF, COMSEC, and modem in a single unit. The navigation suite includes an embedded GPS inertial navigation system, a digital map system, and Meggitt’s low-airspeed air data subsystem, which allows weapons delivery when hovering. Crewmembers are equipped with the Thales “Top Owl” helmet-mounted sight and display system. The Top Owl has a 24-hour day/night capability and a binocular display with a 40° field of view. Its visor projection provides forward-looking infrared (FLIR) or video imagery. The Lockheed Martin target sight system (TSS) incorporates a third-generation FLIR sensor. The TSS provides target sighting during the day, night, or under adverse weather conditions. The system has various view modes and can track with FLIR or by TV.