AH-1Z Viper
The final AH-1Z Viper lands at Camp Pendleton. Marine Corps photo

Aviators at Camp Pendleton have taken delivery of the last AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter produced by Bell Textron for the Marine Corps.

Col. Nathan “MOG” Marvel, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 39, flew the 189th Viper from the Bell factory in Amarillo, TX, to California on Nov. 4.

“The completion of the H-1 program of record delivery is a momentous event for Marine aviation,” Marvel said. “By no means is this the end of an era — it is the next chapter in the great legacy of the H-1 and the U.S. Marine Corps.”

The AH-1Z Viper is a twin-engine attack helicopter featuring a four-blade main rotor system. It carries a M197 Gatling gun, 70 millimeter rockets, and both air-to-air and air-to-surface

It’s based on the UH-1 “Huey” platform that was widely used in the Vietnam War.

“Today’s H-1s are far more lethal, survivable and sustainable than their predecessors. They bring capability and capacity to the battle space that no other platform can provide,” Marvel said.

The Marine Corps fleet also includes an earlier version, the UH-1Y Venom, for a total of 349 attack helicopters.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.