WASHINGTON — The U.S. secretary of defense, Mark Esper, and Czech Republic Minister of Defence, Lubomir Metnar, signed a letter finalizing the foreign military sale by Bell Textron Inc. of H-1 helicopters to the Czech Air Force, the company announced in a release.
“We are privileged to support the Czech people and applaud the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of the Czech Republic for selecting AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters.” said Vince Tobin, executive vice president of Bell’s Military Business.
The H-1 mixed fleet shares 85-percent commonality between parts, reducing the logistics, maintenance, and training costs of the AH-1Z and UY-1Y helicopters while offering a lethal combination of integrated weapons systems to counter ground, air and maritime targets effectively. The AH-1Z is the only helicopter in production equipped with the AIM-9 Sidewinder providing the most advanced air-to-air combat capabilities.
“This mix allows the Czech Republic to accomplish a diverse mission set, from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to close air support and air-to-air warfare,” said Joel Best, director of Military Sales and Strategy, Europe. “The advanced capabilities of the H-1 program help ensure the safety and security of Czech sons and daughters for years to come.”
The purchase of four AH-1Z and eight UH-1Y military helicopters represents the first foreign military sale of a mixed H-1 fleet. Bell anticipates the delivery of the first H-1 aircraft to the Czech Republic will begin in 2023 and complete delivery by 2024.
The AH-1Z and UH-1Y are operated by U.S. Marine Corps light attack helicopter squadrons. Thee AH-1Z also is operated by Pakistan and has been approved for sale to Bahrain.