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Bell’s ARH Program Slips

By James T. McKenna | February 7, 2007

Bell Helicopter is almost a year behind schedule in efforts to produce more than 480 ARH-70 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters for the U.S. Army, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Key technical problems stem from integration of FLIR Systems’ BriteStar electro-optical sensor, which is the "eyes" of the aircraft’s Target Acquisition Sensor System. The program could slip further if those and other technical challenges cannot be quickly worked out. Bell, for instance, recently decided not to put a new-design main rotor derived from its 417 on the ARH-70, instead sticking with the baseline 407 design. That changes powerplant and drive-train considerations. Bell won the 2005 contract to develop and deliver 368 ARH-70s, but the Army subsequently identified a need for 488 to 588 of the aircraft. The first ARH-70 unit was to be in service by September 2008; that has slipped to mid-2009. For related news

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