“The first production lot of U.S. Marine Corps H-1s was ordered in 1962, and they changed the way Marines fight today,” said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. “Completing the AH-1Z and UH-1Y deliveries to the U.S. Marine Corps adds one more chapter to the legacy of the H-1 platform.”
Bell has been producing H-1s for the U.S. military since 1959. Bell originally designed the H-1 for the U.S. Army with the iconic “Huey.” In 1966, Bell created the AH-1 Cobra as the first dedicated gunship. In 1970, the Bell UH-1N brought twin-engine capabilities to more than 28 countries, and in 1984 the AH-1W provided the U.S. Marine Corps increased attack helicopter capability.
The current generation AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom share 85%commonality, providing the Marines with logistical agility and reduced operating costs. The AH-1Z achieved initial operating capacity in February 2011 and the UH-1Y achieved initial operating capacity in August 2008. The first combined Viper/Venom deployment with a Marine Expeditionary Unit occurred in 2009.
“H-1s are key to the 2022 Marine Corps Aviation Plan,” said Col. Vasillios Pappas, Light/Attack Helicopters program manager (PMA-276). “With the US 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 production line is still active in support of foreign military sales to approved U.S. allies. Bell continues to produce AH-1Z Vipers for the Kingdom of Bahrain and will manufacture eight UH-1Ys and four AH-1Zs for the Czech Republic in 2023.
Since the first delivery of the AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys to the U.S. Marines, the H-1 mixed fleet has accumulated more than 450,000 flight hours through a full spectrum of military operations. Bell will continue to support the U.S. H-1s with lethality, survivability, and reliability upgrades through a long-term modernization plan that helps ensure the aircraft keep an overwhelming tactical advantage for generations.
The Arabian Development and Marketing Corp. (ADMC) has ordered 52 Sabrewing Aircraft Co. Inc. heavy-lift cargo uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The purchase follows the Sabrewing Rhaegal-A (Alpha) aircraft’s September flight with 829 lb (374kg) of payload – the most yet for a commercial cargo UAV.
“We had a phenomenal response to our first flight announcement,” said Ed De Reyes, CEO of Sabrewing. “We are meeting our customers’ requests of carrying large volumes of cargo while lifting heavy payloads.”
According to De Reyes, the Rhaegal-A has continued to fly and lift heavy payloads are part of its final development program.
ADMC currently has orders for 128 Sabrewing’s Rhaegal-B (Bravo) aircraft capable of lifting 5,400 lb (2,450kg) vertically and up to 10,000 lb (4,535kg) conventionally. Both the Alpha and Bravo models can take off vertically as fixed-wing aircraft.
De Reyes continued, “Because we already have the molds, hardware, software, and avionics from our first aircraft, we’ve completed the majority of the development work on the Alpha model aircraft. We were looking for a launch customer to start production. ADMC found customers who were interested in buying and leasing the cargo UAV. We had an overwhelming response to our first flight, and interest skyrocketed from day one of the announcement.”
De Reyes added, “On our very first flight, we carried a payload that beat the highest planned payload capacity of the closest competitor by almost 500 lb, and with over 4x more volume than the closest competitors. Since our first payload was only about one-third of what we can carry, we knew it was going to attract a lot of customers who have the need to carry a ton or more of cargo in a large cargo bay.”
Ayman Zeibak, General Manager of ADMC, noted, “We are the first launch customer for the Bravo aircraft, ordering 128 of Sabrewing’s Rhaegal-B Bravo aircraft valued at over $758 million. We now have a mix of highly versatile aircraft to lease to our African and Middle Eastern customers.”
Zeibak noted, “The Sabrewing Alpha is just the right size for some of the smaller air cargo companies who don’t have contracts with FedEx, DHL, or another major carrier, but have the need to carry 1000 kilos of bulk cargo to remote locations on a regular basis.”
This launch order represents an additional $257 million in revenue for Sabrewing, as well as the launch of an additional product line. De Reyes said that they expect to begin delivering the first Alpha models for type certification testing by the beginning of Q3 2023.
This content was originally published here.