Royal Bahraini Air Force Announces Purchase of 12 AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters

The Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) has announced the purchase of 12 Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters from the U.S. through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.

The new helicopters will be delivered from the second half of 2022, the Air Force said at the Bahrain International Air Show 2018.

The FMS contract, with an estimated cost of $911.4 million, was approved by the U.S. State Department in April this year. The sale will also include 26 T-700 GE 401C turboshaft engines (including two spares), 14 AGM-114 Hellfire Missiles, and 56 Advance Precision Kill Weapon System II (APKWS-II) WGU-59Bs. This is only the second export sale of the AH-1Z, with Pakistan having ordered 12 of them.

Bell AH-1Z Viper is an American twin-engine attack helicopter, based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, that was developed for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) as part of the H-1 upgrade program.

The AH-1Z features a four-blade, bearingless, composite main rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system. The four-blade configuration provides improvements in flight characteristics including increased flight envelope, maximum speed, vertical rate of climb, payload and reduced rotor vibration level.

The AH-1Z, one of the latest members of the prolific Huey family, is also called “Zulu Cobra”, based on the military phonetic alphabet pronunciation of its variant letter.

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