Bell launches B407AH – its first armed commercial aircraft

Bell launches B407AH – its first armed commercial aircraft

13-Mar-2011 Source: Bell

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today launched an armed version of its best-selling 407 helicopter. The new 407AH is the first Bell-qualified armed commercial aircraft across the market and is designed to support a wide range of law enforcement and paramilitary missions worldwide. The announcement took place at Heli-Expo 2011.

The 407AH, which benefits from the proven reliability and performance of the Bell 407, comes equipped with a baseline law enforcement package that can be customized with multiple weapon configurations.  Before customization, the 407AH is already fully mission-capable a in a highly optioned configuration to perform a variety of functions such as search and rescue, enforcement and pursuit.

“This is another example of Bell Helicopter responding directly to customer needs,” said Larry D. Roberts, Senior Vice President, Commercial Business, Bell Helicopter. “We are gratified that we could bring such a superior product to market in such a short time with such a significant impact.  The 407AH is a high-performance platform with exceptional maneuverability, speed, payload and range. It will meet the needs of a variety of parapublic agencies at a cost that is far less than that of a similarly equipped military aircraft – but with increased lethality.”

The 407AH’s initial weapon system includes the Dillon 7.62mm M134T Minigun as well as the M260 2.75” seven shot Rocket Launching System.  In addition, extensive customization is available through Bell Helicopter’s Piney Flats facility. Options include: Chaff/Flare controller for counter measures, sliding doors in the rear that allows for personnel or cargo transportation, cargo hook for search and rescue capability, crew seat armor, among others.

The 407AH comes equipped with a number of safety features such as AAI Bulged Skylights Kit, AAI Inlet Barrier Filter with access door, AAI Wire Strike Protection System and Meeker Quick Release Pins for Crew Doors.

The first 407AH demonstrator aircraft was revealed at Heli-Expo 2011 in Orlando, Florida and will be on display there until March 8, 2011. A second aircraft is currently completing expanded weapons integration testing.

After Heli-Expo, the 407AH will embark on an international demonstration tour that will last several months. Destinations include Latin America, Asia, Middle East and Europe, in addition to the United States.

“Bell Helicopter’s legacy in the parapublic market is well established,” said Roberts. ” Until now, this type of armed helicopter was only available from our military sector.  With the 407AH, Bell Helicopter will change the game in the armed commercial helicopter space as well.”

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