Bahrain – AH-1Z Attack Helicopters
(Source: Defense Security Cooperation Agency; issued April. 27, 2018)
The AH-1Z is the ultimate extrapolation of the Bell Huey Cobra 1960s design, but this doesn’t mean it has become affordable: while the Marines are paying $33m for theirs, Bahrain is being offered a dozen each costing a hefty $75m each. (USMC photo)
WASHINGTON --- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Bahrain of AH-1Z attack helicopters for an estimated cost of $911.4 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Government of Bahrain has requested twelve (12) AH-1Z attack helicopters, twenty-six (26) T-700 GE 401C engines (twenty-four (24) installed and two (2) spares), fourteen (14) AGM-114 Hellfire Missiles, and fifty-six (56) Advance Precision Kill Weapon System II (APKWS-II) WGU-59Bs.

This request also includes fifteen (15) Honeywell Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) Inertial Navigation System (INS) (EGI) w/Standard Positioning Service (SPS) (including three (3) spares), twelve (12) Joint Mission Planning Systems, twelve (12) M197 20mm gun systems, thirty (30) Tech Refresh Mission Computers, fourteen (14) AN/AAQ-30 Target Sight Systems, twenty six (26) Helmet Mounted Display/Optimized Top Owl, communication equipment, electronic warfare systems, fifteen (15) APX-117 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), fifteen (15) AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems, fifteen (15) AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Sets, fifteen (15) APR-39C(V)2 Radar Warning Receivers, support equipment, spare engine containers, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

The total estimated cost is $911.4 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major Non-NATO ally which is an important security partner in the region. Our mutual defense interests anchor our relationship and the Royal Bahraini Air Force plays a significant role in Bahrain's defense.

The proposed sale improves Bahrain's capability to meet current and future threats. Bahrain will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. This sale will improve interoperability with U.S. forces. Bahrain will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.

This proposed sale of equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractors will be Bell Helicopter, Textron, Fort Worth, Texas; and General Electric Company, Lynn, Massachusetts. There are no known offset agreements proposed in conjunction with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips by U.S. Government and contractor representatives to participate in program and technical reviews plus training and maintenance support in country, on a temporary basis, for a period of sixty (60) months. It will also require three (3) contractor representatives to reside in country for a period of two (2) years to support this program.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: A $911.4-million price tag for 12 helicopters works out to $75.6 million for each helicopter.
This is more than twice as much as the Marine Corps is paying for the 25 AH-1Zs it is buying for $820.8 million in FY2019 (i.e., $32.8m each).
The difference cannot be explained by the very poor weapons package included in the deal (just 14 Hellfire missiles and 56 APKWS rockets), nor by the unspecified training and logistic support included in the package, so one is left wondering what can account for a surcharge of $42.8 million per helicopter.)


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