The State Department has approved a potential $997 million deal with Nigeria for the sale of 12 AH-1Z attack helicopters.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress on Thursday of the new foreign military sale.

AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopter.
(Photo: Bell Helicopter Textron)

Along with the Bell [TXT]-built AH-1Zs, Nigeria would also receive 28 of General Electric’s [GE] T700-401C engines.

Nigeria has also requested 2,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System guidance sections, communication equipment, electronic warfare systems, AN/AVS-9 aviator’s night vision imaging systems and M197 20mm machine guns.

“The proposed sale will better equip Nigeria to contribute to shared security objectives, promote regional stability and build interoperability with the U.S. and other Western partners. This sale will be a major contribution to U.S. and Nigerian security goals,” DSCA officials wrote in a statement.

Bell also said Thursday delegates from the Czech Republic visited the company’s assembly center in Amarillo, Texas to observe production of the AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters the company is building for the country.

“Hosting [Czech Republic Chief of Defense] Gen. [Aleš] Opata at our Amarillo Assembly Center allows us to showcase the significant progress Bell has made in aircraft production to support this vital international program and customer,” Mike Deslatte, the company’s H-1 vice president and program director, said in a statement. “We are honored to continue our great relationship with the Czech Republic as we prepare to provide them with leading defense aircraft and continue the success of the H-1 program.”

The U.S. signed a $650 million deal with the Czech Republic in December 2019 to sell the country eight UH-1Y Venom and four AH-1Z Viper helicopters, with all 12 aircraft expected to be completed in 2023 (Defense Daily, Dec. 12 2019).

Bell also noted it recently completed delivery of the first four AH-1Z helicopters to the Bahrain military.

In early 2019, the company was awarded a deal worth more than $240 million to also build 12 AH-1Z helicopters for Bahrain (Defense Daily, Feb. 7 2019).