Bell to build eight UH-1Y helicopters and four AH-1Z helicopters for Czech Republic in $272.2 million deal

Sept. 8, 2020
UH-1Y and AH-1Z military helicopters are upgraded versions of the Bell UH-1N utility helicopter and AH-1W attack helicopter of the U.S. Marine Corps.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Military helicopter designers at Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas, will build 12 new utility and attack helicopters and avionics for the Czech Republic under terms of a $272.2 million U.S. Navy contract announced Friday.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, to build eight UH-1Y helicopters and four AH-1Z military helicopters. as part of the H-1 upgrade program.

The AH-1Z Viper is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the AH-1W SuperCobra that features a four-blade rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system. It has upgraded avionics, weapons, and electro-optical sensors designed to find targets at long ranges and attack them with precision weapons.

The UH-1Y Venom helicopter -- also called the Super Huey -- is a twin-engined, medium-sized utility helicopter designed to replace the U.S. Marine Corps UH-1N Twin Huey light utility helicopters, first introduced in the early 1970s.

Related: Navy asks Northrop Grumman to build 228 avionics mission computers for AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y helicopters

The AH-1Z and UH-1Y are party of the Marine Corps H-1 upgrades program to build new helicopters, as well as rebuilding legacy AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters and UH-1N Twin Huey utility helicopters with state of the art designs. The program seeks to upgrade AH-1Ws to AH-1Zs, and UH-1Ns to UH-1Ys.

The AH-1Z can carry a payload of 5,764 pounds, can fly as fast as 222 knots, has a range of 370 nautical miles, and can fly as high as 20,000 feet. It has a crew of two, and carries a 20-millimeter Gatling gun, and can fire 70-millimeter Hydra rockets, AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles.

The UH-1Y can carry a payload of 6,660 pounds -- including as many as 10 crashworthy passenger seats and six litters or equivalent cargo. It has a range of 260 nautical miles, and can fly as high as 20,000 feet. It can fly with one or two pilots, has two external stations for 70-millimeter Hydra 70 or APKWS II rockets, and has two pintle mounts for M240D machine guns or Gatling guns.

On this contract Bell Helicopter will do the work in Fort Worth and Amarillo, Texas, and should be finished by November 2023. For more information contact Bell Helicopter online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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