AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Bell Textron Inc. announced it has completed the first AH-1Z Viper on Sept. 30. The attack helicopter was made for the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The company said the first of 12 production aircraft was delivered to Naval Air Systems Command as part of the 2019 foreign military sales (FMS) contract. Foreign military sales of AH-1Z bring its capabilities directly to international operators, which helps expand the “effectiveness of allied forces,” according to Bell.
The helicopter manufacturer announced the expectation is to deliver the aircraft to Bahrain in 2022 after preparing it for shipment with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA).
“This is an extraordinary achievement by the H-1 Program and brings the Royal Bahraini Air Force a step closer to fielding the advanced capabilities of the AH-1Z,” said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. “The men and women of Team Viper, a group of premier suppliers, have done an exceptional job of delivering to the U.S. Government, on time and on contract.”
The company said it designed the AH-1Z Viper to meet U.S. Marine Corps’ specific operational requirements, focusing on full marinization and reduced logistical footprint. The helicopter can also carry many different munitions and has a fully integrated glass cockpit.
According to Bell, the Viper has a composite rotor system that fully enhanced its ability to provide close air support to ground forces, and a fully integrated Target Sight System (TSS) that allows pilots to engage with targets beyond maximum weapon range.
“The Viper will provide significant benefits to the Bahrain Defence Force as they modernize their fleet of attack helicopters,” said Deslatte. “Having a proven state-of-the-art platform will help contribute to the security of Bahrain while improving interoperability with U.S. forces.”