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Mon, Jun 27, 2005

Bell Wants Army Business

Submits ARH Bid

Bell Helicopter submitted a bid Friday to build a militarized version of its Bell 407 single engine light helicopter in response to a Request For Proposal issued by the U.S. Army for an Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH). The ARH decision, expected in late July, calls for a total of 368 aircraft to be delivered between fiscal years 2006 through 2011.

Bell Helicopter believes its Bell 407 is the perfect aircraft for meeting the Army's current and future ARH mission requirements. The Bell ARH, built at Bell's Military Assembly and Integration Center in Amarillo, Texas, will draw from a large supplier base for its sophisticated sensors, weapons and defensive systems. In anticipation of the bid proposal, Bell has been flight testing an ARH demonstrator helicopter.

The ARH will replace the Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The Kiowa armed reconnaissance helicopter has proven to be a reliable and capable combat aircraft. Bell designed and performed the systems integration on the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, the Army's first fully digitized helicopter which has accumulated over 1.1 million hours of flight time, including 200,000 combat flight hours.

Bell Helicopter is teamed with a number of aerospace suppliers in the areas of Mission Equipment Package (MEP) and training systems integration. Rockwell Collins, Honeywell, FLIR Systems, L-3, Flight Safety (FSI) and Computer Sciences Corporation round out Bell Helicopter's team in bringing the best practices of industry to the Bell ARH program for the Army.

Capable of being equipped with a wide variety of weapons, the Bell ARH will provide the Army with exceptional mission versatility and flexibility to accomplish the armed reconnaissance, light attack, troop insertion, and special operations missions. The Bell ARH will provide this flexibility during the day or night and during adverse weather or periods of poor visibility.

The Bell ARH provides the Army survivability features that include low IR signature; warning and active countermeasures; armor protection of crew and flight critical systems; crashworthy improvements and the ability to carry three Warfighters. These features increase the likelihood of survival in the most extreme battlefield conditions.

The Honeywell HTS900 turbine engine that is based on proven, mature commercial and U.S. Army T800 technology and design will power the Bell ARH. In additional to being designed for extremely low Direct Operating Costs (DOC), the HTS900 turbine engine will be equipped with a sophisticated dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system. The HTS900 provides the power needed today with growth to accommodate changing missions and mission equipment packages expected in the future.

One of the key requirements of the Army's RFP is deployability. Two Bell ARH helicopters can be deployed aboard a C-130 and be unloaded, flyable and ready to fight within 15 minutes.

And of course, as a Bell Helicopter, the Bell ARH will be supported by Bell's product support organization with over 180 locations throughout the world.

 Since its FAA certification in February 1996, Bell has delivered 625 Bell 407's to customers throughout the world, making it the fastest selling turbine powered civil helicopter in history. The current fleet of Bell 407 helicopters has logged over 1.25 million flight hours, with the high time aircraft topping 10,000 flight hours.

FMI: www.bellhelicopter.textron.com

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