Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison said his company wanted to get the U.S. Army’s business back and he sees the proposed Joint Multi-Role (JMR) helicopter as a vehicle to do just that.
Bell is submitting a proposal featuring its tiltrotor technology for Phase 1 of the JMR competition on March 6. Other entries are expected from a newly formed Boeing-Sikorsky alliance and AVX Technologies.
Speaking at a press conference here at Heli-Expo, Garrison indicated that he understood the implications of any future JMR award, predicting that it could eventually lead to a consolidation within the industry. He said he was not surprised that Boeing and Sikorsky had partnered for the program.
“They were partners on the [canceled] Comanche program and we should not be surprised that they are working together again,” he said of the companies. “They are very formidable competitors. They are the incumbents. But we think the government is looking for disruptive technology. Tiltrotor is that technology.”
Citing the early days of the UH-1 in Vietnam, Garrison noted, “At one time Bell was the incumbent with the Army. This [JMR] is the opportunity to win that back.” –M.H.