The Czech Republic will procure 12 military helicopters from U.S. aircraft manufacturer Bell in a deal priced at 14.5 billion crowns ($622 million), Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar said Thursday.
The deal will include eight UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters and four AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters, along with support and weaponry. Even though superficially different from each other, the helicopters have 84% parts commonality.
The contract is expected to be signed by the end of the year with the delivery due in 2023, according to Metnar.
The Czech Republic was considering either 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky or a mixed fleet of UH-1Y/AH-1Zs to replace its ageing Mi-24 attack/troop transport helicopter fleet.
The sale of 12 UH-1Y utility helicopters to the Czech Republic was approved by the U.S. State Department in October 2017 while the sale of four AH-1Z attack helicopters, along with 12 UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters, was approved in May this year.
Bell AH-1Z Viper is an American twin-engine attack helicopter and UH-1Y Venom (also called Super Huey) is a twin-engine, medium-sized utility helicopter. The helicopters are based on AH-1W SuperCobra and UH-1N Twin Huey respectively and were developed by Bell under the H-1 upgrade program of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC).