Bell Helicopter (Booth No. C9343) continued to expand its global presence last month with purchase agreements covering seven aircraft signed during Jet Expo 2013 in Moscow and a deal with Heli-Charter involving the first Bell 429 configured for air ambulance operations in the UK.
Bell Helicopter announced an upgrade program for its 412EPI that will increase the helicopter’s operational flexibility to meet future regulatory and mission needs. The program will focus on further testing and improvements of the rotorcraft’s Category A certification to provide increased operational flexibility for Cat A Part B procedures with respect to elevated heliports, as well as the use of circular and rectangular elevated heliports. The upgrade program will start next month and conclude early next year, allowing for deliveries of upgraded Bell 412EPIs to begin next year.
Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon’s largest supplier, has joined forces with Bell Helicopter on the V-280 being proposed for the DoD’s joint multi-role (JMR) technology demonstrator program. The move by Lockheed Martin comes one month after the company announced it is developing a “universal” avionics and weapons package for the Army’s JMR aircraft even before selection of an airframe. As many as 4,000 helicopters could be acquired under the program.
Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter both contributed to the design and development of parent company Textron’s new Scorpion military jet, which was unveiled yesterday. According to a Textron spokesman, Bell brought composite expertise to the project, while Cessna designed and built the jet at its Pawnee facility in Wichita. A nearly completed prototype, which has been fitted with a pair of Honeywell TFE731 turbofans, is expected to fly by year-end.
Cessna and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron and partner AirLand Enterprises unveiled a prototype intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance/strike aircraft named “Scorpion” at the Air Force Association Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Monday.
While Bell Helicopter may be banking on its tiltrotor technology to recapture market dominance in U.S. Army aviation, the civil market will continue to rely on conventional helicopter design for some years to come, CEO John Garrison told AIN.
There isn’t one manufacturer that doesn’t quietly salivate at the mention of the Latin American appetite for helicopters and the growth of that market. According to Honeywell’s 15th Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook, the appetite for helicopters in Latin America suggests a 34-percent sales spike over the next half-decade.
TAM Aviação Executiva (Stand 1015), representing Bell Helicopter in Brazil, is rolling out the red carpet for the OEM’s new “short light single” (SLR) helicopter.
Development delays with software for the Garmin avionics suites for Cessna’s new Citation M2, Sovereign and X will push back first deliveries by a few months. During a conference call yesterday on second-quarter earnings at Cessna parent Textron, chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly said that deliveries of the M2 and the Sovereign will now start during the fourth quarter of this year, instead of the third quarter as had been planned. Deliveries of the new Citation X will now not begin until “early next year.”
AgustaWestland has confirmed reports that certification of the AW609 civil tiltrotor has been pushed out to 2017, a one-year delay. A company spokesman told AIN that the schedule change is the result of numerous upgrades being made to the design in terms of aerodynamics and systems, including new engines, avionics and fly-by-wire flight controls.