US Naval Air Systems Command awarded a contract to Bell Helicopter Textron on April 4 for the manufacture and delivery of nine AH-1Z Vipers to the government of Pakistan. The deal, which is worth over $170 million, also includes nine auxiliary fuel kits.
Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (60%); and Amarillo, Texas (40%) and is expected to be completed in September 2018. This is the second contract awarded for AH-1Z production for Pakistan. An initial award on August 25 last year covered production of the first of these helicopters for Pakistan. Although the number in that deal was not announced, it is believed to have been for three helicopters.
US State Department approval was granted early last year for Pakistan to purchase up to 15 AH-1Zs, along with 1,000 AGM-114R Hellfire II missiles and other associated equipment. The Pakistan Army already operates around 30 of the older model AH-1F and AH-1S models, but is now also adding the latest variant. Alan Warnes