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MAST Asia 2017: Bell of the Ball

Bell presents V-22 OSPREY, exported to Japan, and AH-1Z, first marinised helicopter

At MAST Asia 2017, MONS sat down with John Woodbery, Director for Bell Military Business Development in Asia Pacific, to talk about the company’s presence at the show with its V-22 Osprey and its AH-1Z. 

The Bell Boeing V-22 OSPREY is a tiltrotor aircraft, which allows it to take-off vertically like a helicopter and to fly at speeds, ranges and altitudes like a plane. “It can go as fast as 266knots (493km/h), can carry 24 troops and can be air refuelled,” says Mr Woodbery: “this makes it an excellent capability to conduct humanitarian missions or expeditionary warfare, providing a combination of speed and range that allows troops to do more with fewer capabilities.”

This is largely enhanced by the capacity of the V-22 to carry up to 9,072kg of internal cargo or 6,804kg of external cargo.

In July 2015, Bell announced that it had signed a contract with Japan to deliver 17 V-22 OSPREYs to the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF). The aircraft will be delivered in batches of four, with the first aircraft to be delivered in September this year and the first batch to be fully delivered by early 2018. The subsequent batches are scheduled for delivery at the end of the year for the next three years through to 2020. “This is the first international contract for the V-22,” he continues.

Next to the V-22 stands the model of the AH-1Z, the first attack helicopter to be designed for ship-borne operations. “The helicopter has been ‘marinised’, which means that it has been designed with maritime harsh conditions in mind, including: a protection against electromagnetic emissions (Electronic Warfare Self Protection), a landing gear designed to sustain the impact of landing on a ship and a protection against rusting that increases the helicopter’s life-cycle,” says the industry expert.

The Ah-1Z is currently being delivery to the US Marine Corps as part of the AH-1W replacement programme, with the last of 189 helicopters scheduled for delivery by 2022/2023. The BD director indicated that Bell is at various foreign military sales stages with other countries. “With such large maritime areas to cover and so many different threats facing countries in the Asia Pacific region, these two helicopters could really enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of regional navies,” concludes Mr Woodberry.

Dr. Alix Valenti


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