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US approves $911 million sale to Bahrain of 12 AH-1Z attack helicopters

Proposed sale also includes Hellfire missiles and Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System II guided rockets

The U.S. State Department approved the sale to Bahrain of 12 Bell AH-1Z attack helicopters along with missiles, rockets, guns and other equipment at an estimated cost of $911.4 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release.

The proposed sale includes 26 General Electric T-700 GE 401C engines, navigation systems, Joint Mission Planning Systems and mission computers, targeting systems, helmet-mounted displays, missile warning systems, countermeasures and other installed equipment, the Friday, April 27 release said.

The weapons systems included in the sale are 14 AGM-114 Hellfire precision-guided air-to-surface missiles, and 56 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II precision-guided rockets. and 12 M197 20mm rotary gun systems.

Support and test equipment, spare and repair parts, training, engineering, logistics, and other program support are also included in the sale.

“Our mutual defense interests anchor our relationship and the Royal Bahraini Air Force plays a significant role in Bahrain’s defense,” DSCA said, adding that Bahrain is a major non-NATO ally and an important security partner in the region.

“Bahrain will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. This sale will improve interoperability with U.S. forces,” the release said.

The principal contractors will be Bell Helicopter and General Electric.

AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter
A US Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Arizona, April 6, 2017. Image: US Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Clare J. Shaffer

The AH-1Z Viper is the latest in the long line of Huey family helicopters. The twin-engine attack helicopter is based on the AH-1W SuperCobra developed for the U.S. Marine Corps and features a four-blade, bearingless, composite main rotor system, upgraded avionics and a new target sighting system.

It first flew on December 8, 2000.

In October, Bahrain announced it had finalized a $3.8 billion purchase of F-16 fighter jets from U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, and in December, Bahrain was among ten foreign customers for Raytheon’s Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs).

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