RAN Bell 429s enter service
Raytheon Australia has announced that the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) Retention and Motivation Initiative 2 (RMI 2) programme has achieved In-Service status, and the company’s new Bell 429 helicopters have commenced activities for the programme.
RMI 2 provides the navy with supported aircraft to allow junior qualified aircrew to consolidate and enhance their skills prior to flying operational helicopters. Raytheon Australia is providing the Navy with three new Bell 429 helicopters for 1,500 tasking hours per annum for the programme, under a new $26 million four-year contract signed in September 2011.
The Bell 429 helicopter selected by Raytheon Australia replaces the A109E aircraft previously provided by the company under its original RMI contract. The Bell 429 is the most modern and cost effective light twin helicopter on the market today offering a substantial capability enhancement for rotary wing flying training and light utility support. Built to the latest crashworthiness standards the Bell 429 provides the safest possible environment for naval aviators to operate and develop their aircrew skills.
According to the company, the achievement of the In Service Date follows a comprehensive range of activities undertaken by the joint navy and Raytheon project team. After formal acceptance of the aircraft by Raytheon Australia in February, the navy conducted an acceptance programme at the Raytheon Australia facilities in Nowra to ensure the aircraft were ready to commence service in the RMI 2 Program.
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