Bell Textron announced on July 19 that it has restarted UH-1Y Venom utility helicopter production to fulfil an order from the Czech Republic, which will become the first international operator of the type.
Crestview Aerospace has completed the manufacture of the first of eight UH-1Y cabins for the Czech order at its facility in Crestview, Florida. The helicopter will complete its final assembly process at the Bell Amarillo Assembly Center in Texas. Bell was awarded a US Department of Defense contract for the production and delivery of eight UH-1Ys and four Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters for the government of the Czech Republic on September 4, 2020.
Paul Kohlmeier, senior vice president of Strategy and Business Development at Crestview Aerospace, said: “Crestview Aerospace is honoured and grateful for the opportunity to team with Bell on the continued production of the UH-1Y cabin for the first international customer. Crestview continues to build in the same high quality and reliability into the international Venom helicopters that underpin the aircraft currently operated by the [US Marine Corps] around the world.”
Bell delivered the final UH-1Y for the US Marine Corps (USMC) programme of record in April 2018 and has continued to produce and deliver the AH-1Z as part of the production contract for 349 H-1 aircraft, comprising 160 Venoms and 189 Vipers.
The UH-1Y shares 85% parts commonality with the AH-1Z. The commonality between the aircraft has enabled critical component supply chains to remain active during the production of the Viper for the USMC, which will continue through to early 2022 for the Marines, and beyond for foreign military customers. Bell has signed two Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases in production, one for Bahrain and the other for the Czech Republic.