Warplanes: February 27, 2001


Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is pushing for the Japanese government to buy the AH-1Z Super Cobra gunship to replace 90 existing AH-1S Cobras (built by Fuji Heavy Industries). Bell Helicopter Textron (which designed and built the AH-1Z as an export competitor to the newer AH-64 Apache) is backing the deal as a means of launching the new design with a firm market base and a high-tech military user. Fuji Heavy Industries, however, is pushing to build the AH-64 in Japan. A fleet of new combat helicopters is the centerpiece of a new defense spending bill under consideration.--Stephen V Cole


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