Bell Helicopter, June 24, 2005 - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - Bell Helicopter today submitted a bid for a militarized version of its enormously successful Bell 407 single engine light helicopter in response to a Request For Proposal (RFP) issued by the U.S. Army for an Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH). The ARH decision, expected in late July, calls for a total of 368 aircraft to be delivered between fiscal years 2006 through 2011.
Bell Helicopter believes its Bell 407 is the perfect aircraft for meeting the Army's current and future ARH mission requirements. The Bell ARH, which will be built at Bell's Military Assembly and Integration Center in Amarillo, Texas, will draw from a large and talented supplier base for its sophisticated sensors, weapons and defensive systems.
In anticipation of the bid proposal, Bell has been flying an ARH demonstrator helicopter at the company's XworX facility to flight test handling qualities for the aircraft.
The ARH will replace the Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, armed reconnaissance helicopter which has proven to be one of the most reliable and capable combat aircraft in the history of US Army aviation. Bell designed and performed the systems integration on the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, the Army's first fully digitized helicopter which has accumulated over 1.1 million hours of flight time, including 200,000 combat flight hours.
Bell Helicopter is teamed with a number of world-class aerospace suppliers in support of the ARH program in the areas of Mission Equipment Package (MEP) and training systems integration. Rockwell Collins, Honeywell, FLIR Systems, L-3, Flight Safety (FSI) and Computer Sciences Corporation round out Bell Helicopter's team in bringing the best of industry to the Bell ARH program for the Army.
Capable of being equipped with a wide variety of weapons, the Bell ARH will provide the Army with exceptional mission versatility and flexibility to accomplish the armed reconnaissance, light attack, troop insertion, and special operations missions with a single aircraft. The Bell ARH will provide this flexibility during the day and at night as well as during adverse weather or periods of poor visibility.
The Bell ARH provides the Army's aeroscouts survivability features that include low IR signature; warning and active countermeasures; armor protection of crew and flight critical systems; and unsurpassed crashworthy improvements and the ability to carry three Warfighters. These features increase the likelihood of survival in the most extreme battlefield conditions.
The Bell ARH will be powered by the Honeywell HTS900 turbine engine that is based on proven, mature commercial and U.S. Army T800 technology and design. In additional to being designed for extremely low Direct Operating Costs (DOC), the HTS900 turbine engine will be equipped with a sophisticated dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system, based on T800 technology. The HTS900 provides the power needed today with growth to accommodate changing missions and mission equipment packages expected in the future.
One of the key requirements of the Army's RFP is deployability. Two Bell ARH helicopters can be deployed aboard a C-130 and be unloaded, flyable and ready to fight within 15 minutes.
The Bell ARH will be supported by Bell's industry-leading product support organization with over 180 locations throughout the world.
The Bell 407 is one of most popular and reliable aircraft in the commercial helicopter market. Since its FAA certification in February 1996, Bell has delivered 625 Bell 407's to customers throughout the world, making it the fastest selling turbine powered civil helicopter in history. In fact, Bell demonstrated its capability for high production rates with the 407 by producing 140 aircraft per year in both 1997 and 1998.
The 407 has proven to be the perfect aircraft for customers in virtually every conceivable helicopter market including: Corporate, Law Enforcement, EMS, Electronic News Gathering and Utility. Operators fly Bell 407 helicopters in over 50 countries around the world. The current fleet of Bell 407 helicopters has logged over 1.25 million flight hours, with the high time aircraft topping 10,000 flight hours.
Bell Helicopter is a subsidiary of Textron Inc. Textron Inc. is a $10 billion multi-industry company with 44,000 employees in 40 countries. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others.