Bell helicopters, which is owned by Textron, wants to pitch to replace Australian Tigers, made by Airbus Helicopters.
“Sure it’s a market, you bet,” he told Defense News on the first day of the Paris Air Show, when asked if Bell would pursue an order from Adelaide.
Poland and Czech republic are also looking to acquire multi role helos with Czech to acquire 12 of them. A tender has been floated. Bell is to participate in both competition.
Harris was confident the design of a sealed rotorhead on its UH-1Z attack and AH-1Y combat utility helicopters could overcome maintenance problems arising from sand and harsh conditions, such as that found in Australia.
Sealing the rotor bearings “eliminates a lot of the sand intrusion,” reducing the maintenance required, he said. That design requires an inspection every 5,000 hours, whereas a conventional design needs more frequent attention.
Those countries with harsh conditions are extremely interested in it,” he said. “There are countries that own and operate our competitors.”
There is strong interest around the world, he added, noting there is an 85 percent commonality in both Bell military helicopters, which share common maintenance, weapon systems and a glass cockpit.
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