Bahrain Approves for 12 AH-1Zs

Bahrain has been approved for a purchase of attack helicopters.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department announced a decision approving the sale of AH-1Z attack helicopters to Bahrain. An accompanying press release noted that the U.S. Congress had been informed of the potential sale earlier that day. Under U.S. law, the Congress now has an opportunity to review the sale.

Human rights agencies have sought to pressure the U.S. into linking arms sales to the Gulf country with its human rights policies. President Barack Obama placed a hold on the sale of fighter jets to Bahrain, but this was lifted by his successor, President Donald Trump, last year.

The sale is estimated to be worth $911.4 million. Bahrain requested the acquisition of 12 AH-1Zs, to come along with T-700 GE 401C engines (24 installed and two spares), 14 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, and 56 APKWS II WGU-59Bs. Included with the request are GPS inertial navigation systems produced by Honeywell, 12 M197 20mm guns, 14 AN/AAQ-30 electronic warfare systems, 15 AN/AAR-47 missile warning systems, 14 AN/ALE-47 countermeasures systems, and 15 APR-39C(V)2 radar warning receivers.

The introduction of the helicopters into Bahraini service will bolster the country’s interoperability with the U.S.

In a statement, the State Department noted, “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.”

Negotiations are believed to have been ongoing for several years. The AH-1Zs, if procured, will replace older AH-1s already in service with Bahrain’s military. Bahrain has also considered purchasing the T-129, produced by Turkey, as a replacement.

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About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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