US-based aerospace manufacturer Bell Textron has been awarded a contract worth $455m to supply the Nigerian Government with 12 AH-1Z attack helicopters. 

This deal marks a milestone in Nigeria’s military modernisation efforts. According to GlobalData’s Nigerian defence market analysis, the Nigerian Air Force needs these attack helicopters to increase its firepower and strengthen the country’s counterterrorism and counterinsurgency campaigns.

The contract, awarded by the US Naval Air Systems Command, includes the production and delivery of the helicopters, along with associated engineering, programme management, and logistics support.

Additionally, Bell Textron will provide non-recurring engineering services to address obsolescence issues, ensuring the helicopters remain operationally effective throughout their service life.

The AH-1Z Viper is an advanced attack helicopter known for its versatility and combat-proven capabilities. Equipped with avionics and weapon systems, including precision-guided missiles and rockets, the AH-1Z can conduct various missions, from close air support to armed reconnaissance.

According to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Rotorcraft Market 2023-2033” report, Textron will be the third leading supplier in the African market, holding an 8.9% share over 2023–33. Nigeria is the sole contributor to Textron’s revenue with its procurement of the AH-1Z Viper over the forecast period.

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Most of the work under this contract will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, with additional support from Amarillo, Texas. The contract is expected to be completed by July 2028.

Foreign Military Sales customer funds will cover a portion of the agreement, totalling $82,345,771.

Active in US service, the AH-1Z has also seen international exports to a number of countries, including into Europe. In July 2023 Bell Textron secured a $22.5m contract to provide in-country maintenance for four AH-1Z helicopters in the Czech Republic in July 2023, following the beginning of UH-1Y production in July 2021.