Home Air Bahrain emerges as potential first customer for surplus US AH-1W SuperCobras

Bahrain emerges as potential first customer for surplus US AH-1W SuperCobras

USMC Super Cobra
Illustration: US Marine Corps file photo

The US State Department has approved a potential sale of surplus AH-1W SuperCobra helicopters to Bahrain as part of its excess defense article (EDA) program.

Bahrain has requested equipment and services to refurbish 24 of the AH-1W helicopters, along with a full-motion aircraft procedures trainer, missile launchers, spare aircraft engines, support, and training. The estimated cost is $350 million.

It is worth noting that Bahrain is already buying the newer AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter, which is replacing the AH-1W in US Marine Corps service.

The proposed sale aims to enhance the security of a major non-NATO ally and support US foreign policy and national security objectives by promoting political stability and economic progress in the Middle East, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in an announcement on the sale approval.

The sale will enable Bahrain to improve its capacity to tackle present and future threats, including maritime patrol, close air support, and search and rescue missions.

The proposed sale of equipment and services to Bahrain is not expected to affect the military balance in the region, have any adverse impact on US defense readiness, or require additional US personnel. The principal contractor for the sale will be Bell Corporation, Fort Worth, TX.

The AH-1W SuperCobra is a twin-engine attack helicopter primarily used by the US Marine Corps (USMC) equipped with a 20mm Gatling gun, Hydra 70 rockets, and Hellfire missiles. It has been in service with the USMC since the 1980s and used in military operations worldwide.