The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. a $509,7 million contract to deliver 29 new AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
The contract, announced on 23 August by the DoD, includes manufacture and delivery of 29 Lot 15 production AH-1Z Build New aircraft in support of the Marine Corps H-1 upgrade program.
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, and Amarillo, Texas, and is expected to be completed in February 2021.
The Bell AH-1Z is built to meet the expeditionary requirements of the United States Marine Corps. With virtually identical front and rear glass cockpits, fully integrated weapons, avionics and communications systems, the marinized Bell AH-1Z flies with the most advanced aircraft weapons and survivability equipment in the world.
The Zulu is the only attack helicopter in the world with a fully-integrated air-to-air missile capability. Target identification is crucial in the modern battlefield. The Bell AH-1Z’s Target Sight System provides the longest range and highest accuracy of any helicopter sight in the world.
The AH-1Z has six stations available on its wing pylons to carry ordnance, vice four on the AH-1W. Stations one & six are capable of carrying the AIM-9, an infrared-guided air-to-air missile, which provides the AH-1Z the capability to defend itself and other assault support platforms against an enemy aircraft. Stations two through five are each capable of carrying one of the following: (19) x 2.75″ unguided rockets, (4) x AGM-114 HELLFIRE, (7) x 2.75″ Guided Rockets (APKWS – Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System), (1) x AIM-9, (1) x 77-Gallon Auxiliary Fuel Tank.