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.