Deliveries to Bahrain Expected Next Year
Bell Textron completed the first AH-1Z VIPER attack helicopter for Bahrain last month, the company announced on 22 October. The aircraft (the first of 12) was delivered to US Naval Air Systems Command under the 2019 Foreign Military Sales contract and will now be prepared for delivery to Bahrain next year.
“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,” commented Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 VP and Program Director. “The men and women of Team Viper, a group of premier suppliers, have done an exceptional job of delivering to the US government, on time and on contract.”
Bell designed the VIPER specifically to meet the stringent operational requirements of the US Marine Corps, which focus on full marinisation 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 clearly identify, 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 […] Having a proven state-of-the-air platform will help contribute to the security of Bahrain, while improving interoperability with US forces,” Deslatte observed.