The Czech Republic has taken ownership of two AH-1Z Viper twin-engine attack helicopters as part of the first in-country delivery.
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The two helicopters are part of a partnership with the US Marine Corps H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter program office and industry partner American aerospace manufacturer Bell Helicopter.
The Czech Air Force can now begin the acceptance process and add additional aircraft that are expected to arrive over the next 12 months.
The Czech Air Force squadron is expected to be independently operating in late-2024.
PMA-276 program manager Colonel Vasilios Pappas said the Czech Republic has selected the H-1 to modernise the country’s armed forces and strengthen its homeland defence.
“Four years ago, we embarked on a journey with the Czech Republic Air Force to deliver the H-1 family of aircraft, including four AH-1Z and eight UH-1Y helicopters,” he said.
“Since then, we have worked together to award the required contracts, deliver the applicable logistics equipment, develop a training program and so much more, all in preparation for this delivery. This is a remarkable milestone.”
PMA-276 manages the end-to-end procurement, development, support, fielding, and disposal of the Marine Corps and international customers H-1 family of aircraft.
Czech aircrew and maintainers will also complete the Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Training Squadron (HMLAT) 303 training pipeline, after an initial team graduated the course earlier this year. They will also have access to a flight training device to support skills development.
Pilots, crew chiefs, and maintainers will learn the additional skills required to operate and sustain its fleet of AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters, and train other members of its force. H-1 crews will train alongside representatives from Bell and supplier Pinnacle Solutions.