Bell Textron has completed its 100th consecutive on-time delivery of the AH-1Z aircraft to the US Marine Corps, which began nearly four years ago. Bell accomplished this milestone through tight coordination with its manufacturing and assembly facilities, UAW 218, numerous suppliers, and government partners. The H-1 series consists of the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom, which provide light attack and utility helicopter support to the Marines while maintaining a small logistical footprint through the 85 percent commonality between the airframes.
“Performance like this takes a lot of work, communication, and trust to ensure alignment between numerous partners, all working toward the same objective. I could not be more proud of our Bell employees.” said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. “Our front line workers, engineers, and supply chain professionals all help support the Marines. Their work designing, manufacturing, and assembling critical components while ensuring quality parts reach the production line on time help the Marines ensure our nation’s security.”
Bell and its Team Viper / Venom partners collaborate with the US Marine Corps H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter program (PMA-276) to provide integrated solutions and increase combat lethality and readiness. In addition to delivering production aircraft on time, Bell directly supports scheduled maintenance. The company is also working on new capability upgrades to equip the Marines with the most advanced technology available.
“This is a feat only possible through the determination of our production team and the program’s strong relationship with our industry partners and suppliers,” said Col Vasilios Pappas, PMA-276 program manager.
Bell is currently working toward the US Marine Corps program of record (POR) and anticipates production of Marine Corps H-1 through 2022. The US Marine Corps H-1 production contract is for 349 aircraft, consisting of 160 UH-1Ys and 189 AH-1Zs. Bell will continue manufacturing aircraft for foreign military customers including contracts for Bahrain AH-1Zs and a mixed Czech Republic fleet of both AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys.