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Bell's H1 Series Sees First Upgrade Under AH-1Z Mod

SIEPU Mods Add New Capabilities to an Old Bird

The Bell AH-1Z Cobra to get the Structural Improvement Electrical Power Upgrade (SIEPU) modification has rolled into the shop after delivery by the US Marine Corps.

Bell celebrated the milestone for the long-running product line after taking in the well-worn aircraft at their Amarillo, Texas Assembly Center. The SIEPU mods will "optimize the aircraft to improve mission capabilities, aircrew safety, and interoperability by increasing the electrical power capacity on the aircraft and support the integration of additional cabin capabilities." As such, Bell says the SIEPU installation "marks the start of the next chapter in the life of domestic H-1 helicopters, following the completion of the U.S. Marine Corps Program of Record in November 2022." Looking past the occasion, the SIEPU upgrade will be a boon for USMC operators in offering better weapon systems, munitions, and launch effects, increasing standoff range, ISR performance, and survivability. The mod even includes some extra electrical generation for future equipment, which will undoubtedly be maxed out in the coming years as the Marines prepare to face newer, more numerous uncrewed enemies. 

“The Bell AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom provide the backbone of attack and utility aviation support in the various battlespaces in which they are used, so SIEPU comes at an important time for the future strategic implementation of this platform,” said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 senior vice president and program director. “SIEPU will be immediately beneficial for today’s operations, and also sets the H-1 up to quickly support future operational needs, some that may not even be conceived of yet.”

“We are confident that SIEPU will help the Marine Corps expand mission essential tasks with more mission flexibility,” said Danielle Markham, SIEPU program manager. “The important thing is to make sure the H-1 is in a position to take advantage of those opportunities as they become available.”

FMI: www.bellflight.com

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