Bell resumes production UH-1Y for Czech Air Force

On 4 September 2020, Bell Textron Inc., Fort Worth (TX) was awarded a USD 272 million contract for the production and delivery of eight UH-1Y Venom and four AH-1Z Viper helicopters for the Vzdušné síly armády České republiky (CzAF, Czech Air Force). The contract does not include armament, ammunition, spare parts and training of pilots and service personnel. Earlier Czechia announced the total contract is valued at USD 630 million, which includes all the aforementioned elements. All work will be performed at Forth Worth (TX) and Amarillo (TX) and is expected to be completed in November 2023.

In May 2019, the US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Czechia of four Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Vipers and eight UH-1Y Venoms or twelve Sikorsky Aircraft Company UH-60M Black Hawks and related equipment. In August 2019, Bell helicopters announced Czechia’s military as the first foreign operator to acquire a mixed fleet of Bell UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters to replace it’s ageing Mi-24 helicopters.

The last UH-1Y Venom that was assembled at the Amarillo Assembly Center Texas was in april 2018. A total of 160 UH-1Y have been built for the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Now the production facilities are ramping up again to assemble the eight “Super Hueys” for the Czech Air Force. Crestview Aerospace, Crestview (FL) has already produced the first new Venom cabin.

The bottom image shows how the new UH-1Y and AH-1Z will most likely look like when they are operated by the Czech Air Force (artist impression)

Photos: Bell Textron

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