Bell Delivers Last Viper To U.S. Marines


Bell Textron announced on Wednesday that it has handed over its 189th AH-1Z Viper twin-engine attack helicopter to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). In addition to completing the program of record (POR) for the model, the delivery is also the last for the USMC’s H-1 upgrade program, which was launched in 1996. Bell completed deliveries for the first part of the program, a POR for 160 UH-1Y Venoms to replace the Marine Corps’ aging UH-1N Hueys, in 2018.

“The first production lot of US Marine Corps H-1s was ordered in 1962, and they changed the way Marines fight today,” said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. “Completing the AH-1Z and UH-1Y deliveries to the US Marine Corps adds one more chapter to the legacy of the H-1 platform.”

The AH-1Z Viper is replacing the USMC’s AH-1W Super Cobras, which were officially retired from service in October 2020. According to Bell, the combined AH-1Z and UH-1Y fleet has logged more than 450,000 flight hours since the first models were delivered to the USMC. The company noted that it has been producing H-1 helicopters for the U.S. military since 1959.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Just curious, what’s in the pipeline to eventually replace the Zulu Cobra for the Marines? Amazing aircraft from 1967 and still serving. Bell had two great aircraft designs in the Huey and Cobra, sure.

  2. The Cobra was to the Army what the A-1 Skyraider was to the AirForce. I flew the Cobra and frequently with the help of the A-1 saved the lives of our troops. It’s the ultimate mission for close air support.