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Wed, Dec 10, 2003

Bell Launches Major Amarillo (TX) Expansion

Moving H-1 Assembly To Panhandle Plant

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 Airport.

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.

FMI: www.textron.com

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