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Thursday October 21, 1999 :

Mexico buys 24 helicopters for Anti-Drug war

FORT WORTH, Texas, USA ( Bell Helicopter Textron Press Release ) - The Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), which is the Attorney General's office in México, announced this week, that it will purchase 24 Bell 206L-4 LongRanger helicopters. The value of the program is (US) $35 million.

The PGR is the anti-drug office in México that operates helicopters for the drug-eradication spray mission in the war against drugs. Currently the PGR operates a large fleet of Bell helicopters to locate, spray and eradicate marijuana and poppy plantations usually located in the mountainous regions of México.

The selection of Bell and the helicopter purchase by Mexico resulted from a public bid program administered by the PGR in accordance with strict guidelines specified by Mexican federal procurement law. Recent agreements between the federal governments of the United States and México identified a need for improved and expanded efforts to meet established goals for drug eradication. The program demonstrates Mexico's commitment to the war against drugs with a modernized fleet of Bell helicopters to fulfill their mission requirements.

Bell will deliver the first four 206L-4's by December 1999 and the remaining 20 LongRangers will be delivered by September 2000. Servicios Aéreos del Centro, S.A. de C.V. (SACSA) of México City will complete the Bell 206L-4's with the special kits and equipment required for the PGR helicopter configuration. SACSA is also a customer service facility authorized by Bell Helicopter to provide helicopter services in México.

This week's announcement comes shortly after the PGR purchase of three Bell 407 helicopters earlier this year to support the drug eradication program. The Bell 407 will also provide scout and surveillance operations for the Bell 206L-4 spray mission.

The need for increased mobility extends to other Latin America countries that are working with the US Government to upgrade their existing helicopter fleets for the war against drugs. The US is providing 25 Huey II kits to upgrade the Colombian National Police fleet of UH-1H helicopters. To date, six have been delivered. Huey II upgrade kits provides excellent high altitude performance and low operating costs for UH-1's already in service. Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru have also requested Huey II upgrade kits.

Bell Helicopter is a division of Textron Inc., an $11 billion, global, multi-industry company with market-leading businesses in Aircraft, Automotive, Industrial and Finance. Textron has a workforce of over 65,000 employees and major manufacturing facilities in 27 countries.

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