Bell has completed building the first AH-1Z helicopter ordered by Bahrain in February 2019.
On Monday, Bell said it hosted a delegation from the Kingdom of Bahrain to mark the start of production of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters built as part of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Delegates toured the Bell Amarillo production facility to observe the production line and ceremoniously sign the aircraft’s frame destined to join the Bahrain Air Force.
The Department of Defense awarded Bell a contract valued $240 million to manufacture and deliver 12 Lot-16 AH-1Z aircraft to the Kingdom of Bahrain. Bell projects production deliveries to begin in late-2021.
The country had signed an agreement with Bell in late 2018 to procure 12 AH-1Z twin-engine attack helicopters after the U.S. senate voted down a draft resolution to block U.S. Arms sales to Bahrain. The contract was worth $912 million.
The AH-1Z is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the Bell AH-1W Super Cobra that features a four-blade rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target-sighting system. It has upgraded avionics, weapons, and electro-optical sensors designed to find targets at long ranges and attack them with precision weapons.