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HeliTorque :: View topic - Bell Forced To Stop Work on ARH
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HeliTorque Forum Index » News, Updates & Intel

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Bell Forced To Stop Work on ARH
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:53 am    Post subject: Bell Forced To Stop Work on ARH Reply with quote

Troubled helicopter work halted

FORT WORTH, Texas, March 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army has given Texas-based Bell Helicopter a month to improve plans for a troubled helicopter that already is behind schedule and over budget.

Work on the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter has been halted until Bell submits the plan, the Houston Star-Telegram reported Thursday.

Bell is more than a year behind on the helicopter, which is to replace the Army's aging, Bell-built OH-58D Kiowa Warriors.

Bell has built four prototypes. One of those crashed last month on a golf course in Mansfield, Texas, 30 minutes into its maiden flight. The remaining three helicopters have yet to be tested fully.

Bell wanted to produce a squadron of the new helicopters, called the ARH-70, by September 2008. That date now has been moved to December 2009.

The Army has the option to buy the first 48 helicopters at $5.2 million to $5.5 million each. But Bell's parent company, Textron, now predicts it would lose $2 million to $4 million per helicopter under those terms.

The Army wants to buy more than 500 of the helicopters if their performance and reliablity can be improved. Bell bested Boeing Co. for the development contract in July 2005.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:44 am    Post subject: Bell has 30 days to lower copter price Reply with quote

WASHINGTON, March 26 (UPI) -- Bell Helicopter has 30 days to turn around a troubled Army helicopter program or lose the contract, a U.S. Army official said.

The Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter in intended to be a low-cost upgrade of the 407 commercial helicopter built by Bell with additional sensors and avionics. It is meant to replace the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.

At a target price of $5.2 million per aircraft, the ARH takes the place of the $14.6 billion Comanche helicopter which was cancelled in 2004.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Mundt, the Army's aviation director, said the latest information from the company shows it will cost between $9 million and $10 million per aircraft, an unacceptable price.

The Army has given Bell a month to scrub the program to see if it can find way to reduce the price without compromising the capabilities of the aircraft. If it cannot, one of the options is to terminate the contract.

The contract could be worth $4.7 billion for 512 aircraft.

Mundt said the Bell price jump caught the Army by surprise.

"A bunch of us got blindsided," he said.

Mundt said he was confident that Bell would not face any technical issues integrating new sensors and weapons into the aircraft. The problem was in the manufacturing process. He said he hoped Bell would revise its procedures to bring down the cost.

"We don't want anyone to think we've turned our back on Bell," Mundt said.
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 4:43 pm    Post subject: ARH-70 to continue Reply with quote

Bell has gotten the green light to resume development of the ARH-70 after the Army reviewed the status at a Special Acquisition Review Council

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