The American aerospace manufacturer, Bell Helicopters, had announced earlier that Pakistan would get three of its AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters by the end of this year. However, according to the recent photographs released by the helicopter manufacturer, the delivery seems near, perhaps in the coming weeks, or even earlier.
Pakistan is to receive 12 twin-engine attack helicopters from the US, three this year and nine during the next one.
The U.S. had approved the sale of 15 AH-1Z attack helicopters, 1,000 AGM-114R Hellfire II anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), spare engines, maintenance support and training under a $952 million U.S. deal.
Aircraft delivery of 15 AH-1Z helicopters to be completed by 2018
Pakistan ordered three aircraft in 2015, followed by 9 aircrafts in 2016. Rich Harris- Bell Helicopter’s Vice President of International Military Sales, announced in June that Pakistan would receive its first three AH-1Z by the end of 2017 and the remaining 9 in 2018.
- The AH-1Z is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines
- Each engine generates an output of 1,800 shp
- Its maximum take-off weight is of 8,390 kg
- Its payload capacity is of 16 ATGM.
Pakistan has begun its task of refreshing its attack helicopter fleet. Along with the AH-1Z helicopters, it is also planning on adding the Russian Helicopters Mil Mi-35
Pakistan has also begun its negotiations with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for 30 T-129 ATAK attack helicopters.
These attack helicopters will provide close air support (CAS) coverage to ground operations, including anti-armour, counterinsurgency and possibly high-altitude light infantry engagements.