The US State Department has greenlighted a potential sale of surplus AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters to Bahrain.
The possible sale is part of the excess defense article program, which facilitates the transfer of excess military equipment to foreign governments to help in their modernization drives.
Manama requested to refurbish 24 AH-1W multi-role helicopters and a full-motion aircraft procedures trainer worth $350 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.
The choppers will be used to perform maritime patrol, close air support, and search and rescue missions.
The Gulf country also seeks M272A1 missile launchers, spare aircraft engines, spare parts, and training and logistics support services.
If the sale pushes through, Bahrain is expected to have increased capability in addressing current and future threats.
The Super Cobra
Manufactured by Bell Textron, the AH-1W Super Cobra was the US Marine Corps’ attack helicopter.
It first entered service in 1985 and was retired in 2020 after more than three decades of supporting military missions.
The chopper can carry Lockheed Martin’s AGM-114 Hellfire missile and Raytheon’s BGM-71 TOW missile, which has a range of three kilometers (1.86 miles).
Additionally, the Super Cobra is reportedly the first attack helicopter qualified to carry both the Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the Sidearm anti-radiation missile.
The AH-1W was replaced by the AH-1Z Viper, which is also manufactured by Bell Textron.