Bell 412EPX. Image courtesy of Bell
Bell and Subaru will collaborate on a commercial upgrade to the Bell 412EPI, the companies said at the Farnborough Air Show this week. The upgrade has been type certificated as the 412EPX in support of Japan's UH-X program.
A commercial prototype for the 412EPX variant has undergone testing at Bell’s facility in Mirabel, Canada, and FAA certification was achieved July 5. The 412EPX will have a more robust main rotor gearbox dry run capability, increased internal maximum gross weight to 12,200 lb and mast torque output increase of 11 percent at speeds below 60 kt.
Subaru, as Fuji Heavy Industries, in 2015 was awarded the contract for the UH-X program to replace 150 of the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force's fleet of Bell UH-1J helicopters. The company expanded a maintenance facility in Japan to support the effort earlier this year.
Delivery for the UH-X is expected to begin in 2022, according to Subaru's Corporate EVP and President of Aerospace Shoichiro Tozuka. The aircraft will serve in defense and disaster relief efforts.
In 2015, Airbus Helicopters pitched an all-new platform for the UH-X program.