Feb. 8 (UPI) — Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. was awarded a $240.3 million contract to build 12 AH-1Z helicopters for the kingdom of Bahrain.
The order to manufacture and deliver the Lot 16 helicopter, known as the Viper and Zulu Cobra, is under the Defense Department’s foreign military sales program, the U.S. Navy announced Thursday. It is part of the U.S. Marine Corps‘ program to upgrade the H-1 program with 189 AH-1Zs and 60 UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters, according to Bell Helicopters.
Last November, the U.S. Department of State approved the deal with Bahrain, worth an estimated $912 million.
Work on the helicopters is expected to be completed by August 2022 at Bell’s headquarters in Fort Worth, as well as Amarillo, Texas.
The full value of the contract has been obligated to Bell at the time of the award, with none of the funds expiring at the end of the current fiscal year.
Bahrain has also requested 26 T-700 GE 401C engines, 14 AGM-114 hellfire missiles and 56 advance precision kill Weapon system II, according to Defense Blog.
Bahrain currents operates 22 older AH-1 Cobras. The Bell AH-1Z Viper is an improved version of the Cobra.
The AH-1Z Viper, unlike other attack helicopters, has integrated air-to-air strike capability as well as superior air-to-ground anti-armor performance.
“This capability set makes the AH-1Z the ideal platform to meet the requirements of land warfare scenarios in any of the potential hot spots around the world,” Bell said on its website.
The first AH-1Z first flew in 2000 at the Arlington Municipal Airport in Texas.