Bell officially opened its new Wichita facility last week in building C-5, which is a space previously occupied by certain engineering resources of sister company Textron Aviation. Bell is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The company said its Wichita outpost will support multiple programs and business areas, including engineering, supply chain, manufacturing, and corporate services.
“I look forward to seeing Bell contribute to our strong aviation industry as a defense and commercial leader,” said U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), a member of the Senate’s defense appropriations subcommittee. Bell is a finalist on the Army’s future long-range assault aircraft (FLRAA) and future attack and reconnaissance aircraft (FARA) programs with its V-280 Valor tiltrotor and Invictus 360 helicopter, respectively.
The programs have a potential combined value of more than $60 billion with aircraft deliveries expected to begin by 2028 for FARA and 2030 for FLRAA. Bell’s announcement follows a report in May from the Center for Strategic and International Studies that suggested that whichever OEM is selected to manufacture the new aircraft, Bell or Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky unit (in partnership with Boeing on FLRAA), could encounter second-tier supplier problems and may need to bring more work on the aircraft in-house.