First AH-1Z Viper built for Bahrain

Bell Textron completed the first build of the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter for the Kingdom of Bahrain last month. The US company announced the completion of the build in a press release on October 22.

This AH-1Z is the first of 12-production aircraft delivered to Naval Air Systems Command as part of the 2019 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract. The AH-1Z will be prepared by the Defense Contract Management Agency of the US and then shipped to Bahrain in 2022. 

Royal Bahrain Air Force AH-1Z Viper Attack helicopter at Bell Textron factory complete and ready for delivery to Bahrain. Bell Textron

Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director, said: “This is an extraordinary achievement by the H-1 programme and brings the Royal Bahraini Air Force a step closer to fielding the advanced capabilities of the AH-1Z. 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 is currently working to deliver AH-1Z Viper helicopters to both Bahrain and the Czech Republic, as well as the US Marine Corps (USMC). The AH-1Z Viper is designed to meet the operational requirements of the USMC with a strong focus on a reduced logistical footprint and full marinisation. The aircraft is an upgrade to the AH-1W SuperCobra, with an upgraded glass cockpit and a wider capability of carrying a variety of weaponry.

“The Viper will provide significant benefits to the Bahrain Defence Force as they modernise their fleet of attack helicopters. Having a proven state-of-the-art platform will help contribute to the security of Bahrain while improving interoperability with US forces,” Deslatte concluded.