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USMC receives final Viper attack helicopter

The USMC has received the last of its 189 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The US Marine Corps (USMC) has received into service the final AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter to be delivered from the manufacturer, Bell.

Announced on 2 November, the milestone took place during a ceremony at the Amarillo Assembly Center in Texas, concluding the corps' Programme of Record (PoR) of 189 AH-1Z helicopters. It also brings to an end the wider H-1 PoR, which includes 160 UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters, the last of which was delivered in 2018.

Derived from the AH-1 Cobra that entered US military service in 1962, the AH-1Z is utilised as an armed escort, reconnaissance, close air support, and anti-armour platform by the USMC, with initial operating capability (IOC) for the type declared in 2011.

Besides the USMC, the AH-1Z has been acquired by Pakistan (these helicopters are also being stored at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) because of a diplomatic dispute between Washington and Islamabad), Bahrain, and the Czech Republic.

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