Fort Worth-Based Bell Wins $455M Navy Contract for 12 Viper Helicopters for Nigeria

The Defense Post said the Vipers are expected to enhance Nigeria’s air defense capabilities and help uphold regional stability once delivered.

Fort Worth-based Bell Textron has been awarded a $455-million contract to deliver 12 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters to the African nation of Nigeria, the Defense Post reported.

The deal was announced by the Department of Defense and also covers associated engineering, program management, and logistics support, according to the report. Bell said work for the contract will be performed in Texas.

The expected completion date is July 2028, the Defense Post said. According to the report, the U.S. State Department first approved the sale in 2022, and that the estimated cost it originally revealed was almost $1 billion.

The Defense Post said the Vipers are expected to enhance Nigeria’s air defense capabilities and help uphold regional stability once delivered.

The AH-1Z Viper is based on the AH-1W SuperCobra and is a twin-engine helicopter that serves as the primary rotor-wing ground attack aircraft of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The helicopter can perform close air support, aerial reconnaissance, and other military missions in the most extreme environments, the Defense Post said. It can carry a two-person crew (a pilot and a co-pilot/gunner) and fly at a maximum speed of 200 knots, or roughly 230 miles per hour.

In 2022, we reported that after the U.S. Army’s biggest helicopter competition in 40 years, Bell Textron was awarded an initial U.S. Army contract worth up to $1.3 billion to replace the famed Black Hawk combat attack helicopter. Bell’s tilt-rotor V-280 Valor was developed and tested as part of the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program, which began in 2013.

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