Bell restarts manufacturing UH-1Y Venom for first international operator
Bell Textron has restarted UH-1Y Venom helicopter production for its first international operator. Crestview Aerospace has completed manufacturing the first of eight cabins at the Crestview Florida facility. The aircraft will complete final assembly at the Bell Amarillo Assembly Center.
The helicopters are part of the 2020 U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contract awarded to Bell for the production and delivery of eight UH-1Y and four AH-1Z helicopters for the government of the Czech Republic.
Paul Kohlmeier, senior vice president, Strategy and Business Development, Crestview Aerospace said: “Crestview continues to build in the same high quality and reliability into the international Venom helicopters that underpin the aircraft currently operated by the United States Marine Corps around the world.”
Bell delivered the final UH-1Y for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) programme in April 2018 and has continued to produce and deliver the Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopter as part of the H-1 production contract for 349 H-1 aircraft.
The UH-1Y shares 85% commonality of parts with the AH-1Z.
Mike Deslatte, vice president and H-1 program director, Bell said: “Commonality helps ensure everything between the Viper and Venom, from manufacturing, maintenance, and upgrades, remains seamless while simultaneously providing lower program and life cycle costs. It’s a real tactical advantage on multiple levels.”
The UH-1Y and AH-1Z share the same engines, integrated mission system and dynamic components, such as the four-bladed rotor system. Both aircraft are specifically designed and produced for expeditionary operations.
Bell anticipates USMC production through early 2022, followed by continued production for foreign military customers. Bell has two signed Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases in production, Bahrain and the Czech Republic.