Bell 429. Photo courtesy of Bell
The Jamaica Defense Force Monday took delivery of two Bell 429s that will perform various missions including search and rescue, medical evacuations, natural disaster relief, national security and military training.
“We are proud to celebrate today’s delivery and strengthen our rich history with the JDF,” said Jay Ortiz, SVP of commercial business in the Americas. “The Bell 429 is the most technologically advanced aircraft in its class, and these modern platforms will provide the JDF with enhanced mission capabilities well into the future.”
The JDF began its helicopter operations in 1963 with two Bell 47Gs. Its active fleet includes four Bell 407s, two Bell 412s and two Bell 206s. A third 429 is scheduled for delivery to the JDF in 2019, according to Bell.
“Over the years, our mission has evolved resulting in the need to acquire the Bell 429 to more effectively meet the demands of our mission profiles and further prove our rotary wing capability,” said Col. Roderick Williams, the JDF’s colonel adjutant quartermaster and a former commanding officer of the JDF Air Wing. “The Bell 429 offers excellent performance and advanced avionics with outstanding maintainability and aircraft readiness for multi-mission operations.”
The 429 features single-pilot instrument flight rules certification and an integrated avionics glass cockpit. The use of metallic and composite parts in its construction creates balance between rigidity and flexibility, safety and durability, Bell said.