South Korea to train with Bell 505
South Korea's Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) signed a KRW170 billion ($132.6 million) deal with Bell Textron Asia to purchase 40 Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopters and eight simulators on 6 May.
Seoul will receive the full order by 2025 to train its army and navy pilots. Pilots will begin using the new rotorcraft as early as next year.
‘The introduction of new helicopters is expected to address concerns about safety accidents caused by the operation of ageing training helicopters,’ DAPA official Lee Jong-hwa said in a 16 May statement.
South Korea currently uses MD 500 and UH-1H helicopters to train army and navy pilots, respectively.
The Bell 505 is equipped with a Garmin G1000H integrated avionics suite and dual-channel full-authority digital engine control.
It has a high-inertia rotor system and is designed with a flat floor, increased cabin volume and clamshell doors to undertake various missions.
The Bell 505 was confirmed through the third round of bidding. The first and second bids had failed because candidates offered by foreign aircraft makers did not meet DAPA's required performance and price.
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