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Bell Textron wins contract to modernize AH-1Z Viper helicopter.

| 2022

According to information published by the US DoD on September 16, 2022, Bell Textron Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded a $228,168,591 cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter. (Picture source: Bell)

This contract provides the H-1 Light/Attack helicopter with new and modified capabilities through System Configuration Sets, which is a combination of software and/or hardware configuration item changes integrated into a previously deployed baseline configuration.

The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a twin-engine attack helicopter, based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, designed and produced by the American aerospace manufacturer Bell Helicopter.

It incorporates various improvements and advances, including new rotor technology, upgraded military avionics, updated weapons systems, and electro-optical sensors in an integrated weapons platform.

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) replaced the two-bladed AH-1W Super Cobra with the AH-1Z Viper, which features a new, four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear, and a fully integrated glass cockpit. The AH-1Z is equipped with an integrated advanced fire control system and the capacity to support multiple weapons configurations.

The AH-1Z is equipped with a pair of redesigned stub wings, these being substantially longer than those of the preceding SuperCobra. Each one has an additional wingtip station for a missile such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder.

Each stub wing has two other stations for 2.75-inch (70 mm) Hydra 70 rocket pods, or AGM-114 Hellfire quad missile launchers. The AN/APG-78 Longbow fire control radar can also be mounted on a wingtip station.

Other mission equipment can be fitted to these stations, including 77 and 100-gallon external auxiliary fuel tanks, LUU-2A/B nighttime illumination flares, and numerous types of practice munitions. Underneath the nose of the AH-1Z is an A/A49E-7 turret fitted with a 20 mm (0.787 in) M197 three-barreled rotary cannon.

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