Bell Helicopter Dedicates Military Aircraft Assembly and Delivery Center to US Army Kiowa Warrior
Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT) officially dedicated their newest flight hangar at the Military Aircraft Assembly and Delivery Center in Amarillo, TX for work specifically supporting the U.S. Army’s OH-58 Kiowa Warrior program.
“We, at Bell Helicopter, are honored by the confidence and trust the U.S. Army, the Program Executive Officer of Army Aviation, and the Armed Scout Helicopter Program Management Office has placed in us,” said Jim Schultz, Program Manager, Army Programs and Fielded Systems. “The United States Army is the world’s largest user of rotary wing aircraft and we are pleased to have them as a customer and partner as we move into the future of extending the useful life of this crucial platform.”
The new facility is an 118,000 square foot assembly building with an adjacent flight ramp of over 500,000 square feet. Bell Helicopter took possession ahead of schedule and began working in the building in October. With the addition of the new flight hangar, Bell has grown to almost one and one-half million square feet under roof.
In December, Bell received the first two cabins to begin work on the “A2D” conversion program. The program is an Army initiative to replace war time losses suffered by the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. This conversion program takes an existing “A” model OH-58 and upgrades them to “D” model. The agreement calls for an initial conversion of eight cabins with an option for a second group of ten.
Along with the “A2D” cabin conversion program, the new space will allow Bell the option to offer additional services to meet the Army’s needs. The “A2D” conversion will establish a “hot” production line putting Bell Helicopter in a position to respond to the Army’s potential requirement with “new metal” cabins to reduce overall fleet age. The Army currently needs 39 OH-58D Kiowa Warriors to replace the wartime fleet losses.
LtCol Scott Rauer, 13th Product Manager for the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, Armed Scout Helicopter Project Office said, “We are hoping for an opportunity to eventually use all brand new components at Bell. That is what we see as the future of the program.”
Bell is also developing an OH-58 Block II fleet representative demonstrator to facilitate prototyping activities in anticipation of a U.S. Army future requirement of 6K95 performance. The Block II OH-58 provides an attractive, cost efficient alternative to the U.S. Army and U.S. taxpayer.
Source: 8 February 2012 - Aviation News (www.aviationnews.eu)
Photo: U.S. Army’s Bell OH-58 Kiowa Warrior Helicopter (Photo by Bell Helicopters)
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