Bell Helicopter Textron [TXT] won a $210 million system design and development contract for the potential $2.2 billion Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) program over Boeing [BA] from the Army July 29. Bell partners with Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, Honeywell, FLIR Systems, L-3 Communications, Flight Safeity (FSI) and Computer Sciences Corp.
Bell offered a militarized version of its Bell 407 single engine light helicopter for ARH. The Army wants 368 modified off-the-shelf helicopters to be delivered between FY Ã05 and FY Ã11. The helicopters would integrate existing subsystems, such as the Hellfire missile and a target acquisition sensor suite and laser spot tracker. The ARH will be a dual crew station, single-pilot-operable aircraft able to operate worldwide. The new helicopter must also allow for commonality with other helicopters and have potential for future growth. The new Helicopter would replace BellÃs aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, first fielded in 1985.
The aircraft is still in development.
There are no foreign participants in the program.
The Bell militarized 407 helicopter, which the company dubs "the sports car in the air," won out over BoeingÃs proposal for the AR Little Bird helicopter. Bell has built a flying ARH prototype. The 407 has been in production since 1996 and more than 600 helicopters have been delivered. The Army wants to integrate existing subsystems to provide capabilities it would have received on the Boeing-Sikorsky [UTX] RAH-66 Comanche that was terminated in 2004 to buy new helicopters, upgrade and modernize others and replace aging models.