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).

“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 now complete, the Marines have the flexibility to manage and deploy the helicopters based on current and future mission requirements as established at the start of the program.”

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.

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 to come through effective sustainment, supplier management and future upgrades.”

In support of 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 cost 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.