Pakistan Army will get its first three Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters this year making it the first foreign military sales of this helicopter type in 20 years.
"The first three helicopters (from an order of 12) are undergoing final assembly in Amarillo, Texas" Bell Helicopter’s vice president of international military sales Rich Harris was quoted as saying by Shepherd media Monday at the 2017 Paris Air Show,
The remaining nine will be delivered to Pakistan in 2018, he added.
Pakistan’s AH-1Z will also come configured with Thales TopOwl helmet-mounted display (HMD) systems, Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-30 Target Sight System electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) pods, Quwa reported.
Further, the helicopters will arrive equipped with BAE AN/ALE-47 chaff/flare countermeasure dispensers, Northrop AN/APR-39C(v2) radar warning receivers (RWR) and Orbital ATK AN/AAR-47 missile warning receivers.
The US State Department approved a sale of 15 AH-1Z to Pakistan in April 2015 along with 1,000 AGM-114R Hellfire II laser-guided air-to-surface missiles. The cumulative value of the package (including training, logistics and maintenance support) is $952 million U.S.
Pakistan ordered the first three aircraft in August 2015, which it then followed-up with an order of nine in April 2016. It is unclear if Pakistan will order the three remaining AH-1Z, though the original sale proposal released by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) did not specify any optional aircraft from the 15.
The AH-1Z is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines, each providing 1,800 shp in output. The AH-1Z has a maximum take-off weight of 8,390 kg and maximum payload capacity of 16 anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM).
The Pakistan Army sought the AH-1Z to replace its AH-1F/S Cobra attack helicopters. The AH-1Z benefits from integrated subsystems, such as EO/IR pod (for situational awareness and ATGM targeting), countermeasures suite for anti-air warfare threats and HMD for seamlessly cueing the EO/IR pod to targets.