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Bell begins work on first AH-1Z Viper for Czech Republic

The cabin of an Czech Republic AH-1Z is loaded onto the manufacturing line at the Amarillo Assembly Center to begin production.
Photo: Bell

Bell Textron says it has started work on the first AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter for the Czech Republic at its Amarillo Assembly Center.

The production of the Viper joins UH-1Y production as part of the Czech Republic foreign military sale (FMS) of mixed fleet aircraft. Construction work on the first of the Venom helicopters began in July last year.

Both types are being built as part of a 2020 contract awarded to Bell for the production and delivery of eight UH-1Y and four AH-1Zs for the government of the Czech Republic.

By beginning production on the Czech Republic UH-1Y in 2021, Bell marked the first production for an international operator of the UH-1Y. The Czech Republic’s purchase of both the AH-1Z and UH-1Y takes full advantage of the 85 percent commonality between parts and enabling full mission capabilities between both aircraft.

The UH-1Y and AH-1Z share the same engines, integrated mission system and dynamic components, such as the four-bladed rotor system. Both aircraft are specifically designed and produced for expeditionary operations.

“Bell understands what it means to execute a successful international program,” said Mike Deslatte, vice president and H-1 program director, Bell. “We understand the importance of providing the unmatched capability of the H-1 aircraft to our customers. Bell remains focused on producing exceptional combat aircraft and providing modern capabilities for the Czech Air Force as a partner in the H-1 program, along with the U.S. Government.”

In addition to the Czech Republic, Bell is actively producing AH-1Zs for the US Marines Corps and the Kingdom of Bahrain. In total, the H-1 program is on track to produce 217 AH-1Zs and 168 UH-1Ys, with more than 100 consecutive H-1s delivered on time for the USMC and FMS customers, Bell said.