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Military Capabilities

US Army looks to acquire Bell helicopters for government and FMS customers

21 December 2017

The US Army is looking to acquire up to 150 Bell Helicopter rotorcraft for transfer to other US government agencies and Foreign Military Sale (FMS) customers.

A 407GX that has previously been delivered to the United Arab Emirates for conversion into the Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH) light attack and armed reconnaissance platform. (NorthStar Aviation)A 407GX that has previously been delivered to the United Arab Emirates for conversion into the Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH) light attack and armed reconnaissance platform. (NorthStar Aviation)

A request for information (RFI) posted on the Federal Business opportunities (FedBizOpps) website on 20 December called for parties capable of producing and delivering Bell helicopters, including but not limited to the 407GX, 412EPI, 505, and Huey II, over a five-year period.

Interested parties were invited to respond to the Department of the Army within 30 of the RFI having been issued.

The Bell 407GX is a four-bladed derivative of the twin-bladed JetRanger-series of single-engine helicopters. First launched in 2011, the 407GX has previously been delivered to the United Arab Emirates for conversion into the Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH) light attack and armed reconnaissance platform by NorthStar Aviation.

The Bell 412EPI is the latest variant of the 412 that features a digital ‘glass’ cockpit and upgraded engines. Military operators of the Bell 412-series include Chile, Italy, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Montenegro is also looking to field the type.

The Bell 505 JetRanger X is a single-engined helicopter that is geared largely at the trainer market. Still relatively new (the type was launched in 2013), only seven helicopters are understood to have been sold to date, although letters of intent have been received from a number of potential future customers. Foreign military interest has come from South Korea, which is looking to field 40 new training helicopters.

The Huey II is the latest iteration of the venerable UH-1 ‘Huey’ helicopter that has been in US and international service since the time of the Vietnam War. Featuring a refurbished airframe and upgraded systems, the Huey II has already been adopted by a number of foreign militaries, including Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, and Uganda.



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