Bell divests interest in BA609 program
June 23, 2011, Hurst, Tx. - Bell Helicopter announced at the Paris International Air Show, that AgustaWestland has agreed to purchase Bell’s ownership interest in the BA609 tiltrotor program, a Bell-AgustaWestland joint venture. Bell Helicopter will remain the key supplier of engineering services and key components to the program.
By Carey Fredericks
“Both companies agree it is the best business decision for AgustaWestland to take ownership of the program with Bell Helicopter serving as the key engineering and component supplier,” said John L. Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter. “This decision will free up research and development resources allowing Bell Helicopter to increase our investment in the revolutionary V-22, to develop the next-generation tiltrotor technologies for U.S. Department of Defense programs and other applications, as well as increase our investment in our innovative commercial product line,” he said.
Bell Helicopter plans to continue to increase its research and development investments over the next five years for its commercial product line and for next generation tiltrotor technologies. As part of its continued commitment to further evolving tiltrotor technologies, Bell-Boeing has acquired a V-22 Osprey for ongoing development.
The V-22 Osprey, produced by a Bell-Boeing strategic alliance, with its revolutionary tiltrotor technology is fielded by both the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command and the U.S. Marine Corps and has provided unmatched performance as the Osprey can fly twice as fast and three times as far as any conventional helicopter. The V-22 Osprey has completed over 110,000 flight hours and has received the highest safety rating for any tactical rotorcraft in the Marine Corps.
The agreement is subject to obtaining requisite regulatory approvals and does not include the transfer of V-22 tiltrotor technologies.
Bell will is also displaying one of its newest helicopters, the 407GX and 407AH, at the show. It is making its first international appearance since their introduction at the 2011 HELI-EXPO in Orlando, Fla., in March.
"We've received tremendous customer acceptance of these two new helicopters since their introduction." said Larry D. Roberts, Senior Vice President, Commercial Business for Bell Helicopter. "The Bell 407GX is in a league of its own with the capability and situational awareness provided by the Garmin G1000H glass flight deck. Customers are really seeing the benefits of this innovative technology and the Bell 407AH provides unique flexibility for parapublic missions that cannot be found anywhere else in the market."
After the Paris Air Show, the 407GX and 407AH will embark on international demonstration tours that will last several months. The 407GX will demo throughout Europe, while the 407AH will be shown throughout the Middle East and will demonstrate its performance capabilities during the BRIDEX air show in Brunei, July 6-9, 2011.
Both products are extensions of the popular and reliable Bell 407 with more than 1,000 delivered worldwide. The Bell 407 includes operational features such as a choice of maximum internal gross weights, high main rotor clearance (8 ft), excellent hover performance, powerful FADEC controlled engine, comfortable seating for seven, and optional Quiet Cruise kit. Blade fold capability, cargo hook, and a host of OEM kits and customizing offerings make this aircraft ready for any mission. The Bell 407AH comes equipped with a baseline law enforcement package that can be customized with multiple weapon configurations. As with all Bell models, both the 407AH and 407GX are backed by Bell's award-winning and industry-leading customer support and service.