Joined: Sep 16, 2006 Posts: 736 Location: North England
Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:11 am Post subject: Bell reveals armed version of its 407 helicopter
Heli-Expo 2011: Bell reveals armed version of its 407 helicopter
March 06, 2011
Bell Helicopter has unveiled two new versions of its Bell 407 helicopter at the Heli-Expo exhibition in Orlando, in what it says is a response to strong customer demand.
In a launch ceremony at the show on 6 March, Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison introduced the 407GX, which is equipped with the Garmin G1000H Integrated Flight Deck, and an armed version of the 407 that the company has dubbed the 407AH.
Garrison said the 407AH was in response to market demand for an armed commercial aircraft that can be used for law enforcement and paramilitary applications without going through the ‘long and complex’ military procurement process.
The aircraft comes equipped with a baseline law enforcement package that can be customised with a range of weapon configurations. The 407AH’s initial weapon system includes the Dillon 7.62mm M134T Minigun as well as the M260 2.75in seven shot rocket launching system.
Speaking to reporters following the aircraft’s unveiling, Larry Roberts, senior vice president of commercial business for Bell, said the company had already secured a ‘substantial’ launch customer for the aircraft, although he declined to give further details.
It was clarified, however, that the Armed 407 helicopter that is being procured for Iraq as a foreign military sale in conjunction with the US Army is an unrelated effort to the new 407AH.
The aircraft, which went from conception to certification in some nine months, underwent flight testing at Yuma Proving Ground earlier this year.
Following the exhibition, Bell plans to take the 407AH on an international demonstration tour that will take in countries across Latin America, Asia, Middle East and Europe. Garrison said there had already been expressions of interest throughout those regions.
The company also unveiled the Garmin G1000H-equipped 407GX, which combines a range of new digital safety features that the company says the market has been calling for and rolls it into one package.
The cockpit features two 10.4” high-resolution LCD displays as standard with ‘an intuitive, easy to scan layout’ and an integrated avionics system.
According to Bell, the safety features of the aircraft include the Traffic Information System, HSVT synthetic vision technology, a ‘highway in the sky’ moving navigational map, helicopter terrain avoidance warning system and range ring. The advanced suite also features critical flight parameter storage on a SD card for post flight analysis.
Gary Kelley, vice president of marketing at Garmin International, said the aircraft included features similar to that found on fixed wing aircraft but took the technology ‘to the next level’.
Meanwhile, Bell has distanced itself from comments made by AgustaWestland’s CEO Giuseppi Orsi that the two companies were in final negotiations for the latter company to take full control of the long delayed BA609 civilian tiltrotor programme.
Orsi told reporters on 5 March that Bell had agreed for AgustaWestland to take control of the programme and negotiations would be completed in the next few months.
However, Garrison denied such an agreement had been made and said while negotiations were ongoing to find a way forward, a full partnership was still an option that was on the table.
Tony Skinner, Orlando _________________ R22 2.6 h/r wanting more, a hell of a lot more
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