NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– Following an unprecedented on-time delivery record, the Marines received its final AH-1Z Viper as mapped out by the service’s program of record (POR), culminating in 189 attack helicopters and 160 UH-1Y Venoms, the service’s utility variant.

“H-1s are key to the 2022 Marine Corps Aviation Plan,” said Col. Vasillios Pappas, Light/Attack Helicopters program manager (PMA-276). “With the U.S. program of record complete, the Marines can manage and deploy the helicopters based on current and future mission requirements as established at the program’s start.”

U.S. Marine Corps Col. Nathan “MOG” Marvel, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), lands the final AH-1Z Viper produced for the Marine Corps on Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, Nov. 4, 2022. Marvel flew the aircraft from Amarillo, Texas. The aircraft rolled off the assembly line as the final production of the U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper from Bell. The H-1 platform will continue to show the world why it is unequivocally important in maintaining 3rd MAW’s warfighting mentality and readiness to execute all six functions of Marine Corps Aviation. Credit: Cpl. Levi Voss / U.S. Marine Corps

The H-1 program consists of the AH-1Z and the UH-1Y aircraft; their integration spans the full spectrum of warfare in range, combat power, and flexibility. H-1s are uniquely adept at distributed maritime operations to enhance expeditionary advanced base operations from a mix of traditional amphibious and non-traditional ships and shore-based sites.

U.S. Marine Corps Col. Nathan “MOG” Marvel, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) unloads gear from the final AH-1Z Viper produced for the Marine Corps on Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, Nov. 4, 2022. Credit: Cpl. Levi Voss / U.S. Marine Corps

Last week, the program recognized the acquisition milestone during a ceremony at Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center, the original equipment manufacturer of the aircraft. Following the ceremony, the aircraft on display, an AH-1Z designated for the 3rd Marine Aviation Wing, flew to Camp Pendleton, marking the final domestic delivery.

“Completing the domestic H-1 program of record by delivering AH-1Z Vipers and UH-1Y Venoms to the U.S. Marine Corps is an impressive milestone,” said Mr. Gary Kurtz, Program Executive Office Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault, and Special Mission Programs during the ceremony.  “This feat would not be possible without our solid foundation of teamwork, unwavering commitment to the warfighters, and the strong relationships we have built across our government, industry, and supplier teams.”

H-1 production continues for the program’s international customers: Bahrain and the Czech Republic.

“This is far from where the H-1 story ends,” said Pappas. “Production is important; after all, it brings us the aircraft. But perhaps even more important: keeping the fleet flying for decades through effective sustainment, supplier management, and future upgrades.”

To support long-term sustainment, the program office has integrated various reliability and maintainability efforts designed to improve component and system availability, increase mission capable rates, and reduce maintenance costs per flight hour. 

PMA-276 manages the cradle-to-grave procurement, development, support, fielding, sustainment, and disposal of the Marine Corps and international H-1 systems.


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