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Bell Provides Update on its Military Programs

23rd February 2009 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Rich Linhart, Bell's vice president for Military Business Development said, Bell Helicopter continues to make significant advances in its key rotorcraft programs for our nation's military forces.

Both the V-22 and H-1 programs made significant progress in 2008 as we continued to ramp up our military aircraft production efforts.

The Bell Boeing V-22 program achieved a significant milestone in March 2008 when it received a five-year Multi Year Procurement contract for 141 MV-22 and 26 CC-22 aircraft. In September 2008, supplemental defense authorization legislation added five additional CV-22s and two more MV-22s to that contract, and in January 2009 Naval Air Systems Command signed Phase I of a five-year Joint Performance Based Logistics Contract that covers both MV-22 and CV-22 aircraft.

In October 2008 U.S. Marine Corps MV-22s passed the one-year mark on their deployment to Iraq. The Osprey continues to perform well in the combat zone, demonstrating the exceptional flexibility, speed and range offered by tiltrotor technology. In October four CV-22s from the Air Force Special Operations Command accomplished their first trans-Atlantic self deployment when they participated in a joint, multi-national exercise in Trans-Saharan Africa.

In 2008 the Bell Boeing V-22 program delivered a total of 18 aircraft, with the last seven aircraft delivered early to contract. August saw the groundbreaking on a 176,000 sq ft. expansion of the V-22 final assembly area at the Bell Helicopter Military Aircraft Assemble Center in Amarillo, Texas. Construction is scheduled to be complete in July 2009, and by 2012 the V-22 program is expected to ramp up to delivering 39 aircraft per year.

In August 2008 the U.S. Marine Corps declared Initial Operational Capability for its UH-1Y utility helicopter, and full-rate production of the aircraft was approved in September. Three Yankees embarked on their first operational deployment in January 2009 sailing with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit on the USS Boxer.

Bell delivered 12 H-1 aircraft to the U.S. Marines in 2008, three AH-1Zs and nine UH-1Ys, with the last five aircraft all delivered early to contract. The program expects to ramp up to 27 aircraft per year in 2012.

The original program of record for the H-1 Upgrade Program was set at 100 UH-1Ys and 180 AH-1Zs. However, in order to accommodate the U.S. Marine Corps Grow the Force initiative, in December 2008 the Department of Defense approved an increase in the program of record to 123 UH-1Ys and 226 AH-1Zs.

Bell continues to support the Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior which is currently deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008 the company delivered nine upgraded Kiowas under the OH-58D Safety Enhancement Program, and is on contract to complete 18 more upgrades in the first half of 2009. Bell continues to deliver all of the SEP program aircraft back to the Army two months ahead of schedule.

Linhart summarized Bell's 2008 accomplishments, Across the company, we are extremely proud of our support of America's warfighters, both with new aircraft production and with our continuing support of the many Bell products currently deployed in combat, he said.


The Shephard News Team


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