The United States government has approved the sale to Guyana of helicopters and related equipment for an estimated USD256 million.
The 412EPi is an improved variant of the 412 helicopter that is already in use with the Guyana Defence Force Air Corps. (Bell )
The State Department approval announced on 30 October covers two Bell 412EPi and two 429 helicopters, as well as Wescam MX-10 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, mission equipment, training, and support.
“The proposed sale of the Bell 412EPi and 429 helicopters will improve Guyana’s capability to meet current and future threats. Guyana will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defence; conduct maritime surveillance, patrol, and interdiction; counter narcotic trafficking and transnational criminal organisations; deter regional threats; and support coalition partners overseas,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in its notification.
The 412EPi improves on earlier models of the 412 helicopter in that it features the Bell BasiX Pro fully integrated ‘glass’ flight deck. The avionics suite also includes high-resolution digital maps, electronic charts and approach plates, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) transponder, optional helicopter terrain avoidance warning system, and XM satellite links. As well as the BasiX Pro flight deck, the 412EPi also features the Pratt & Whitney PT6T-9 Twin Pac engines, which are 15% more powerful. When combined with the BLR Aerospace Dual Tailboom Strakes and FastFin System, this extra power increases the helicopter’s ‘hot and high’ lifting capacity by as much as 1,410 lb (640 kg), according to Bell.