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First USMC Bell AH-1Z goes in for power upgrade

29th March 2024 - 16:21 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


USMC H-1 aircraft have been undergoing upgrades at Bell Textron’s Amarillo Assembly Center. (Photo: Bell)

The Bell Textron AH-1Z Viper, an attack helicopter designed to operate and destroy targets in extreme environments, achieved IOC in February 2011.

The first USMC Bell AH-1Z to receive the Structural Improvement Electrical Power Upgrade (SIEPU) modification to be provided by Bell Textron has arrived at Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center.

SIEPU will improve mission capabilities of aircraft in the H-1, aircrew safety and interoperability by increasing the electrical power capacity on the aircraft and support the integration of additional cabin capabilities.

The civilian H-1s, which the Bell AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom are based on, have already demonstrated their CUAS capability and SIEPU will allow for there to be enough on-board power capacity for future weapons yet to be implemented.

The upgrade will provide current weapons systems with next-generation capabilities, including kinetic long-range munitions and air-launched effects, as well as new non-kinetic capabilities. The upgrades will greatly extend reach and range and extend stand-off distance.

The company said that “prior to arriving at the [center], the AH-1Z and UH-1Y completed datalink capabilities testing with the USMC modifications at Camp Pendleton and testing with VMX-1 in Yuma”.

“Bell plans to continue supporting the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom through the 2040s in alignment with the Marine Corps Aviation Plan,” it added.

The Shephard News Team


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