Rotorcraft manufacturers made a strong showing at the 2015 LAAD Defence & Security exhibition in Rio de Janeiro April 14-17.
The Brazilian military helicopter market is dominated by Airbus. The military is procuring 50 EC725 (now H225) Cougar helicopters built in country by Avibras, a local Airbus unit. Helibras, another Airbus subsidiary, is upgrading AS565 Panthers operated by Brazil’s army.
That dominance did not keep other OEMs from exhibiting.
Bell Helicopter exhibited four models: the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor developed for the U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy; the Bell 407GT, and the multi-role Bell AH-1Z and UH-1Y developed for the U.S. Marines.
Bell trumpeted the ability of these aircraft to bolster combat power across a broad set of missions. For instance, it said the AH-1Z and UH-1Y were designed to operate in challenging environments while maintaining an affordable cost of ownership. The company said the AH-1Z is compatible with a wide array of ordnance.
The 407GT is Bell’s armed version of the best-selling 407GX. It is qualified for a range of weapons from light munitions to advanced laser-guided munitions. It brings together the Garmin G1000HTM flight deck with precision weapons capability.
Standard specifications include an infrared camera, weapons management system, universal weapons pylon, tactical radio suite, target sight system, sliding doors for rapid egress/ingress on both sides and high-visibility cockpit windows and door. “In the past few years, we have seen a lot of success and interest in our product line throughout Latin America and see additional opportunities for further growth,” said Jay Ortiz, Bell’s vice president of Latin American sales.
Ortiz said Bell entered the Latin American market more than 60 years ago and since then, the region has grown to represent the company’s second largest installed fleet, with more than 1,680 aircraft.
AgustaWestland displayed its single-engine AW119Kx, light twin AW109 LUH, intermediate twin AW139, medium multi-role AW149 aircraft and the AW101 three-engine medium heavy platform, as well as the T129 combat helicopter,
More than 650 exhibitors from 43 countries participated in LAAD this year, its organizers said.