The US Marine Corps (USMC) has received its final AH-1Z Viper helicopter, marking the culmination of H-1 programme of record (POR) for the service.

Announced by the Naval Air Systems Command, the service’s last AH-1Z Viper was handed over last week during a ceremony at Bell Textron’s Amarillo Assembly Centre in Texas, US.

Bell Textron is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the utility aircraft.

After the event, the last helicopter flew to the Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton in California to mark the domestic delivery.

The newly delivered Viper will be assigned under the 3rd Marine Aviation Wing.

The USMC’s H-1 programme involved a total of 189 AH-1Z attack helicopters and 160 UH-1Y Venom aircraft.

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The programme is managed by H-1 Light Attack Helicopter Programmes Office (PMA-276).

PMA-276 programme manager colonel Vasillios Pappas said: “With the US POR 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 programme.”

Both the aircraft can perform a variety of maritime missions in support of the expeditionary advanced base operations, from amphibious as well as ships and shore-based sites.

Apart from domestic deliveries, the company is also working on H-1 production for the programme’s international customers, including the Czech Republic and Bahrain.

Pappas added: “Production is important; after all, it brings us the aircraft.

“But perhaps even more important: keeping fleet flying for decades to come through effective sustainment, supplier management and future upgrades.”

For long-term sustainment of the fleet, the PMA-276 has also integrated several reliability and maintainability efforts to enhance mission capability and minimise the overall maintenance cost per flight hour.