Bell Helicopter CEO Michael
Redenbaugh has announced that the Fort Worth-based helicopter
manufacturer is adding 113,300 square feet to its existing Assembly
Building located at the Amarillo International Airport. "We need
this new manufacturing space because we are bringing the H-1
assembly line up to Amarillo," Mr. Redenbaugh said. Since 1999,
Bell's Amarillo facility has been the Assembly and Delivery Center
for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor program. The Bell center is located
on 184 acres along the southeast corner of Amarillo International
The H-1 Program is a major upgrade to remanufacture the US
Marine Corps fleet of AH-1W SuperCobra and UH-1N utility
helicopters to an advanced configuration featuring common engines
and flight dynamics. The program involves 100 UH-1N and 180 AH-1W
SuperCobra helicopters. Upon completion, the AH-1W will become the
AH-1Z and the UH-1N will become the UH-1Y Construction on the
expansion of the Assembly Building is expected to be completed by
October 2004. Simultaneously Bell will build an on-site Fire
Station that will house two fire trucks and the company is adding
141,500 square feet of Ramp Space to support Flight Operations.
Future plans call for the construction of a 72,000 square foot
Flight Hangar by February 2006, to support H-1 production
flight-testing and deliveries.
Currently Bell employs approximately 700 people in Amarillo.
When the H-1 program reaches full rate production by the end of the
decade, it is anticipated that 250 people will be working on the
H-1 in addition to personnel assigned to the V-22 program.