Bell Helicopter Textron [TXT] and BAE Systems signed an agreement to pursue military rotorcraft opportunities focused on the AH-1Z Viper in Australia, Textron said Feb. 16.
Under the agreement, BAE is to play a significant role providing support for Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters, including overseeing maintenance and sustainment as well as supporting training for future customers.
The Viper shares 85% commonality of its major components with the Bell Helicopter UH-1Y Venom utility rotorcraft. This enhances deployability and maintainabilitywhile also reducing training requirements and the logistical footprint between the two platforms, Bell Helicopter said.
Both the UH-1Z and UH-1Y Venom are specifically marinized, thus designed for sustained high performance when operating on ship and shore bases, in the open seas, and littoral zones. The helicopters can also be used in desert and tropical environments.
“The signing today with BAE Systems establishes the groundwork for what will be the premier provider of service and support for future customers of Bell Helicopter military rotorcraft in Australia,” Lisa Atherton, executive vice president of military business for Bell Helicopter, said in a statement.
“BAE Systems is an Australian aerospace leader with unmatched technical knowledge and expertise. This relationship aligns our interests and pursuits as we work together to pursue opportunities to strengthen and support the capability and posture of the Australian Defence Force,” Atherton added.
“We are looking forward to working closely on opportunities with Bell Helicopter as its sustainment and support partner in Australia,” Steve Drury, director of BAE Systems Australia Aerospace, said.
“We have been maintaining rotary wing aircraft for more than 20 years and this long-term strategic partnership with Bell Helicopter offers a superior end-to-end military rotorcraft solution,” Drury added.