Bell Textron Inc., a subsidiary of Textron Inc., is commemorating the delivery of four H-1 helicopters to the Czech Republic during the NATO Days 2023 event.
The Czech Republic’s acquisition includes three AH-1Z Vipers and one UH-1Y Venom, fulfilling a 2019 agreement to modernise the country’s armed forces with rotary-wing technology. The Czech Republic helicopter contract was awarded to Bell Textron in 2021.
Bell’s senior vice president and H-1 programme director, Mike Deslatte, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We are thrilled to celebrate this tremendous occasion with the Czech Republic as they modernise their helicopter fleet. These new H-1 platforms position the Czech Republic at the forefront of helicopter technology, precisely when security concerns have never been more critical.”
The AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom represent Bell’s latest generation of attack and multirole combat helicopters. Designed to focus on minimal logistics demands, these aircraft enhance operational speed and agility while affording military versatility during missions.
In partnership with subcontractor Pinnacle Solutions, an Akima Company, Bell is committed to providing pilot, crew chief, maintenance training, and maintenance support within the Czech Republic.
President of Pinnacle Solutions, Tina Tucker, remarked, “Our highly experienced professionals are honoured to support the Czech Armed Forces and Bell Textron in delivering these new and vital aircraft capabilities to the Czech Republic. We will ensure top-quality training and meticulous aircraft maintenance throughout this pivotal phase.”
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The Czech Republic is showcasing its H-1 helicopters during NATO Days. Before the arrival of the aircraft, a select group of Czech pilots, aircrew, and maintainers underwent hands-on training with US Marines at HMLAT-303, located at Marine Corps base camp Pendleton in California.
Bell, in collaboration with Flight Safety International, established an AH-1Z dome simulator at the Czech Air Force base in Náměšt, providing greater independence for training within the country’s borders.
Mike Deslatte underlined the significance of this milestone, stating, “This marks the beginning of a new era, with the Viper and Venom serving as pivotal assets for the defence and security of the Czech Republic.”
Bell commenced production of the AH-1Z Viper in 2022 and will continue production of the remaining AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters at the Amarillo Assembly Center while working closely with the Czech and US Governments through the Defense Contract Management Agency to facilitate the arrangement and scheduling of deliveries for the remaining aircraft.
The Czech Air Force squadron is anticipated to achieve independent operation of H-1 helicopters by late 2024, further fortifying the nation’s defence capabilities.
This year, Bahrain also received the delivery of the AH-1Z Viper aircraft from Bell Textron, marking the completion of the programme for Bahrain.