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Bell Textron to supply attack helicopters to Pakistan

By Carlo Munoz
Bell Textron to supply attack helicopters to Pakistan
Bell Textron has reached a deal to sell the AH-1Z Viper to Pakistan. Pictured, U.S. Marines perform post-flight maintenance on a Viper aboard the USS Anchorage in the Philippine Sea, June 2, 2015. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jamean Berry/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has awarded Texas-based aviation firm Bell Textron a contract to provide its latest attack helicopter for the Pakistani military, according to a recent service announcement.

Islamabad will receive nine AH-1Z Viper attack aircraft along with nine auxiliary fuel kits as part of the $170 million deal through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. The helicopters will be built at the company's facilities in Fort Worth, Texas and Amarillo, Texas.

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Contracting and delivery of the aircraft and associated fuel kits will be overseen by service program officials at Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Md. Navy officials anticipate the helicopters to be ready for export within the next two years.

The AH-1Z is the latest variant of the U.S. Marine Corps' iconic AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter. Currently Pakistan is the only foreign military with plans to fly the Viper, outside of the Marine Corps. Company officials last September reportedly offered the AH-1Z to Polish and Czech military leaders, as both countries look to replace their legacy fleet of Soviet-era Mi-24 and Mi-35 attack helicopters.

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