Tag Archives: AH-1Z Viper

Bahrain AH-1Z

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has completed the AH-1Z Program of Record (POR) for the Kingdom of Bahrain. Bell delivered the final production aircraft to Naval Air Systems Command in December of 2022. The first Bahrain AH-1Zs made their in-country debut during the Bahrain Air Show and six have been delivered in country. The final six helicopters will be prepared for shipment to Bahrain with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) before being transported to Bahrain in 2023.

AH-1Z Viper
Bell Completes Bahrain AH-1Z Program of Record

«Congratulations to the Kingdom of Bahrain on obtaining the latest generation of the AH-1Zs», said Mike Deslatte, Bell vice president and H-1 program director. «As a leader in the region, Bahrain’s defensive capabilities will be further bolstered by the advanced technologies of the AH-1Z Viper».

The completion of the Bahrain AH-1Z Viper program of record comes on the heels of Bell completing the U.S. Marine Corps program of record, signifying two major H-1 production milestones in one year. The AH-1Z Viper is Bell’s newest generation of dedicated attack helicopters manufactured by Bell. The U.S. Marine Corps currently operates the AH-1Z Viper around the world, taking advantage of the minimal logistics requirements for shipboard and expeditionary operations.

«Capabilities are only part of the equation when it comes to modernizing an aircraft fleet», Deslatte added. «By ensuring the aircraft can operate with minimal logistics support, the AH-1Z Viper enables leaders to react with greater speed and agility to rapidly evolving operations».

Bell continues to work with Kingdom of Bahrain on post-shipping inspections and re-assembly to guarantee configuration as defined in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case. In addition to manufacturing and delivering the new AH-1Z Vipers, Bell will support the lifecycle of the aircraft to ensure reliability, survivability and lethality on the modern battlefield.

Continues production of Foreign Military Sales Aircraft

First Bahrain Viper

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, celebrated the completion of the first AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter for the Kingdom of Bahrain on September 30. Bell delivered the first of 12 production aircraft to Naval Air Systems Command as part of the 2019 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract. Foreign military sales of the AH-1Z Viper bring the advanced, dedicated capabilities of the aircraft directly to international operators and help increase interoperability and amplify effectiveness of allied forces. The helicopter will be prepared for shipment to Bahrain with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) before being transported to Bahrain in 2022.

AH-1Z Viper
Bell Completes First Bahrain AH-1Z Viper

«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 Viper », 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».

Bell designed the AH-1Z Viper specifically to meet the stringent operational requirements of the U.S. Marine Corps, which focus on full marinization and a reduced logistical footprint. The aircraft has a fully integrated glass cockpit and the ability to carry a wide variety of munitions.

The composite rotor system further enhances the Viper’s ability to provide close air support to ground forces in any environment, while the fully integrated Target Sight System (TSS) enhances pilots’ capabilities to identify clearly, acquire, track and engage 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».

Bell continues to work to deliver aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps, Bahrain and Czech Republic. The company also keeps the H-1 up to date with planned capability improvements designed to ensure the Viper maintains its strategic technological edge throughout its service life.

100th AH-1Z Viper

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has successfully completed its 100th consecutive on-time delivery of the AH-1Z Viper 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.

AH-1Z Viper
Bell Completes 100th Consecutive On-Time Delivery of AH-1Z to U.S. Marines

«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».

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. In addition to delivering production aircraft on time, Bell directly supports scheduled maintenance. The company is also working on new capability upgrades to equip the Marines with the most advanced technology available.

«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 Colonel Vasilios Pappas, PMA-276 program manager.

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 Venom and 189 AH-1Z Viper. 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.

Restart of the UH-1Y

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has restarted UH-1Y Venom helicopter production for the first international operator. Crestview Aerospace has completed manufacturing the first of eight cabins at the Crestview Florida facility. The aircraft will complete final assembly at the Bell Amarillo Assembly Center. The helicopters are part of the 2020 U.S. Department of Defense contract awarded to Bell for the production and delivery of eight UH-1Y and four AH-1Z Viper helicopters for the government of the Czech Republic.

UH-1Y Venom
Bell Begins Manufacturing UH-1Y Venom For First International Operator

«Crestview Aerospace is honored and grateful for the opportunity to team with Bell on the continued production of the UH-1Y Venom cabin for the first international customer», said Paul Kohlmeier, senior vice president, Strategy and Business Development, Crestview Aerospace. «Crestview continues to build in the same high quality and reliability into the international Venom helicopters that underpin the aircraft currently operated by the United States Marine Corps around the world».

Bell delivered the final UH-1Y Venom for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) program of record in April 2018 and has continued to produce and deliver the AH-1Z Viper as part of the H-1 production contract for 349 H-1 aircraft, consisting of 160 UH-1Y Venom and 189 AH-1Z Viper.

The UH-1Y Venom shares 85 percent commonality of parts with the AH-1Z Viper. The commonality between the aircraft enabled critical component supply chains to remain active during AH-1Z Viper production for the USMC.

«Time, logistics, and man-hours are all strategic resources», said Mike Deslatte, vice president and H-1 program director, Bell. «Commonality helps ensure everything between the Viper and Venom, from manufacturing, maintenance, and upgrades, remains seamless while simultaneously providing lower program and life cycle costs. It’s a real tactical advantage on multiple levels».

The UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper share the same engines, integrated mission system and dynamic components, such as the four-bladed rotor system. Both aircraft are specifically designed and produced for expeditionary operations. Together, they provide a full spectrum of military operations, unlike any other helicopter duo.

Bell anticipates USMC production through early 2022, followed by continued production for foreign military customers. Bell has two signed Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases in production, Bahrain and the Czech Republic.

Digital Viper

For the first time in flight, the AH-1Z Viper established a two-way connection between a ground station and the aircraft’s Link 16 and Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) systems.

AH-1Z Viper
An AH-1Z Viper assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 takes off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River. During the test flight, the AH-1Z established a two-way connection between a ground station and the aircraft’s Link 16 and Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) systems for the first time (Photo by: Joy Shrum)

A new capability for the H-1 platform, the digital interoperability (DI) suite includes Link 16 and ANW2 data links, a gateway to share information across various networks. Additionally, the suite includes a new digital moving map, enabling the H-1 platform to display information from these data links on a common display.

The DI suite also modernizes how data is loaded to and from the H-1 platform.

«The H-1 has decades of battlefield experience, it has evolved to fight in numerous environments», said Colonel Vasilios Pappas, USMC H-1 Light/Attack Helicopters program office (PMA-276) program manager. «The integration of these data links aligns with this platforms’ ability to adapt to the ever-changing threat and meet the needs of current and future warfighters».

Link 16 and ANW2 enable the AH-1Z to rapidly share information with other weapon systems, provide greater situational awareness, accelerate the kill chain, and enhance survivability to outmaneuver and defeat the threat across a range of military operations.

During the one-hour flight, conducted by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21, pilots successfully communicated with a multiband networking manpack radio, the PRC-117G, and the Mobile Systems Integration Lab, a ground station designed by Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) to validate the suite’s connection with the aircraft.

«The flight was a success and went exactly as expected», said USMC Captain Jason Grimes, the first flight pilot and H-1 project officer with HX-21. «There is still work to be done before fleet integration, but it was a step in the right direction in getting a much needed capability to the HMLA [Marine Light Attack Helicopter] squadrons».

The DI suite includes a new radio, processor, and mission computer software to integrate the information from this new data link onto a new digital map interface. This capability enables the AH-1Z to directly exchange critical data with other Marine Corps and Navy aviation and shipboard systems.

«The flight is the culmination hours of hard work and innovation. I am very proud of the government and industry team’s dedication to making this critical capability for the Marine Corps a reality», said Pappas.

Led by PMA-276, the effort was a collaboration of the PMA-276 Avionics Integrated Product Team, numerous government and industry partners, including Northrop Grumman, Bell, Kranze Tech Solutions, NAWCAD, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, J.F. Taylor, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Flight test on the AH-1Z will continue through the summer, with initial fleet integration expected in 2022. In addition, the program is working with industry and HX-21 to flight test the same DI suite on the UH-1Y Venom later this spring.

PMA-276 manages the cradle to grave procurement, development, support, fielding, and disposal of the Marine Corps rotary wing close air support, anti-armor, armed escort, armed/visual reconnaissance, and fire support program systems.


Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded $509,750,754 for modification P00005 to definitize a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-17-C-0030) for the manufacture and delivery of 29 Lot 15 production AH-1Z Build New aircraft in support of the Marine Corps H-1 upgrade program.

The Bell AH-1Z is purpose built to meet the stringent performance and readiness requirements of the USMC
The Bell AH-1Z is purpose built to meet the stringent performance and readiness requirements of the USMC

In addition, this modification provides for long lead material and components for an additional seven Lot 16 aircraft.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (60 percent); and Amarillo, Texas (40 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2021.

Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $509,750,754 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.



Maximum Speed 200 Knots-Indicated Air Speed (KIAS)/230 mph/370 km/h
Maximum Autorotation Speed 120 KIAS/138 mph/222 km/h
Combat Radius 131 NM/151 miles/243 km
Maneuverability -0.5 to +2.5 g
Cruise Speed 139 Knots True AirSpeed (KTAS)/160 mph/257 km/h
Sideward/Rearward Flight 45 KIAS/52 mph/83 km/h
Maximum Gross Weight (MGW) 18,500 lbs./8,391 kg
Maximum Useful Load 5,764 lbs./2,615 kg
Fuel Capacity 412.5 gal/1,561 L
Model T700-GE-401C
Output, Uninstalled, Each Engine 1,800 shp/1,342 kW
Pilots 2


Viper in Romania

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with IAR – Ghimbav Brasov Group, a leading company in the Romanian defense and aerospace industry.

Romanian aerospace manufacturer will engage with American manufacturer to discuss potential collaboration on AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter
Romanian aerospace manufacturer will engage with American manufacturer to discuss potential collaboration on AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter

«Bell Helicopter is a strong global partner and we are pleased to have this opportunity», said Ion Dumitrescu, general director of IAR – Ghimbav Brasov. «We look forward to exploring different avenues of cooperation on one of the most capable platforms in the world».

IAR – Ghimbav Brasov specializes in aeronautical structures and electrical work, with a special emphasis on MRO capabilities for helicopters. The company has been in operation for more than eight decades and is well positioned to provide support for the AH-1Z «Viper» attack helicopter should it be purchased by the Romanian government.

«We are excited about potential collaboration with a company as well regarded as IAR – Ghimbav Brasov. Their talented engineers and specialists make them a leader in the Romanian defense industry», said Lisa Atherton, Bell Helicopter executive vice president of Military Business. «The potential for the AH-1Z Viper in Romania is exciting, and the AH-1Z should be a very strong candidate in addressing the Romanian government’s need for an advanced, reliable platform for security and defense».

NATO guidelines published in 2015 encourage member nations to dedicate 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for defense spending. The goal is to modernize equipment and enhance capabilities in order to more effectively contribute to national and regional defense. Many governments in Eastern Europe are increasing defense spending to better support the goal of defensive strength and deterrence in response to increasing regional threats. The government of Romania continues to commit funding and resources to help meet the NATO threshold, and expect to exceed their current 1.7% defense spending level in the coming years.

The AH-1Z Viper is the most advanced anti-tank attack helicopter in production.  It is designed in partnership with the United States Marine Corps and carries the widest range of precision weapons and most advanced sensors available. The Viper has a combat radius greater than 149 miles/240 km when carrying 16 Hellfire missiles, 2 AIM-9’s, and 650 20-mm rounds. The Viper offers more capability than other available attack platforms with lower acquisition, maintenance and life-cycle costs.