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Bell launches 407M light attack helo

Bell displayed a model of its 407M platform at the IQPC International Military Helicopter conference that is being held in London from 15 to 17 February, (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Bell has revealed its latest version of the armed 407 helicopter, showcasing the 407M at the IQPC International Military Helicopter conference in London.

Speaking to Janes on 16 February, Joel Best, director of EUMECAA global sales and strategy, said that the 407M builds on the 407GT that was first launched in 2013, with “a much more capable HMI [Human-Machine Interface] – moving from largely analogue to digital, and upgraded weapons including APKWS [Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System] guided rockets”.

As with the 407GT, the 407M leverages the 407-derived OH-58D Kiowa Warrior that, until recently, served as the US Army's scout helicopter. According to company specifications, the 407M features a Garmin G1000H NXi cockpit with TekFusion Global Pathfinder mission and weapons management systems, has a night-vision goggle (NVG)-compatible cockpit, an electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret, and a CFD International two or four station weapons wing. With a 6,000 lb (2,722 kg) external maximum gross weight, the platform's weapons include 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm gun pods or pintle-mounted guns, seven-shot rocket pods, 70 mm Hydra/APKWS rockets, and Hellfire or Griffin air-to-surface missiles.

The 407M is equipped with armoured crew seating, defensive countermeasures, a self-sealing fuel system, ballistically tolerant main rotor blades, an IR suppression system with a 30-minute run-dry capability, and roll-over bulkheads for increased crash survivability. Performance specifications (at maximum gross weight) include a top speed of 140 kt, a range (at long-range cruise speed) of 624 km, and an endurance of up to four hours.

Best told Janes

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