Bahrain RBAF final AH 1Z at Amarillo Assembly Center 640Deliveries of AH-1Z to Bahrain completed

With the delivery of the final, out of a total of twelve, Bell AH-1Z Viper to the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF), Bell Helicopters completed the Programme of Record (POR). The first six attack helicopters had already been shipped to the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2022.

In december 2022, the final six helicopters have been transferred to the US Naval Air Systems Command. They will now be prepared for shipment to Bahrain with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) before being transported to Bahrain over the course of this year.

The first RBAF Viper was seen during the Bahrain International Air Show (BIAS). Scramble Magazine reported first on BIAS 22 in November 2022. The Bahraini Vipers are the successor of the older AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters that saw service from 2009 until late 2022. A small number of Cobras have been upgraded or are still in the process of upgrade to AH-1FB.

The contract for the manufacture and delivery of twelve AH-1Z Viper (Lot 16) attack helicopters was awarded to Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Fort Worth (TX) in February 2019.

Bahrain was the first export customer for the AH-1Z and the delivery of the first batch followed upon completing the delivery of the type (189 aircraft) to the US Marine Corps (USMC). Pakistan was planned to be another export customer for the new attack helicopter, but deliveries have been vetoed due to political reasons.

The Vzdušné síly armády České republiky (CzAF, Czech Air Force) will become the second export customer with four helicopters on order and another six to be delivered under a donation construction.

Photo by Bell Helicopters

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