Any potential thaw in U.S.-Iran relations is unlikely to relax long-standing economic sanctions that have hobbled the latter’s commercial and defense aviation sectors for decades. Most recently, United Nations’ Resolution 1696, in force since 2006 and in response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, has limited Iran’s ability to obtain approved spare and replacement aircraft components and to conduct international financial transactions.
Cadorath Aerospace recently noted its continued work in developing a total of 900 repair procedures for a variety of Bell Helicopters, including 178 new repairs in 2012 alone.
Winnipeg, Canada-based Cadorath Aerospace has expanded its engineering department to broaden its offerings for Bell helicopter repairs. Last year, Cadorath’s engineering team developed 178 new extended repairs for Bell helicopters. Cadorath says this growth in the list of Bell repairs, as well as expansion of the engineering team, puts it on schedule to perform more repairs this year.
The first two production examples of a new attack helicopter were handed over to the Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation (IRIAA) and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on January 2. The ceremony, attended by the Iranian defense minister, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, coincided with the last day of a major Iranian military exercise called Velayat-91, during which operational units fired a number of anti-ship missiles.
Iran appears determined to not only maintain its enormous fleet of hundreds of Bell helicopters in the wake of the ongoing U.S. arms embargo against it, but also to make indigenous and unauthorized copies of them. In 2006, Bell filed suit against Iran for making unauthorized knock-offs of several models including 206s and 205s.
Iranian customers have recently placed orders for 15 locally built Shahed-278 light helicopters, but suppliers from around the world see Iran as a market ripe for development. The interest reflects the growing demand for modern rotorcraft to support Iran’s flourishing oil, shipping and construction business industries, as well as for medevac and VIP travel.