Bell restarts Venom production to meet Czech order
Bell Textron announced on 19 July that it has resumed UH-1Y Venom helicopter production to fulfil an FMS contract to produce and deliver eight UH-1Ys and four AH-1Z Viper helicopters for the Czech Republic.
Subcontractor Crestview Aerospace completed manufacturing the first of eight UH-1Y cabins at its Florida facility. The aircraft will complete final assembly at the Bell facility in Amarillo, Texas.
The company delivered the final UH-1Y for the USMC programme of record in April 2018, but it continued producing and delivering the AH-1Z under a production contract for 349 H-1 aircraft (160 Venoms and 189 Vipers).
The UH-1Y shares 85% commonality of parts with the AH-1Z, including the same engines, integrated mission system and four-bladed rotor. This commonality has enabled critical component supply chains to remain active during AH-1Z production for the USMC, Bell noted.
Bell anticipates USMC production of the AH-1Z until early 2022, followed by continued production for foreign military customers, including Bahrain, which ordered 12 helicopters. According to Shephard Defence Insight, these Vipers will supplement a fleet of Royal Bahrain Air Force AH-1 Cobras (AH-1Es, AH-1Fs and TAH-1P trainer helicopters).
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