Bell Helicopters in its LUH submission suggested that these missions could be most cost effectively supported by one airframe, the Bell 210. It was FAA certified, commercially supported and operating at 42 percent less per hour than the current Huey and at approximately $530/hr, 1/4th the cost of the Black hawk. A $3M investment would buy all these missions: TDA, training, RAID and Homeland Defense. This would be as a non-deployable, commercially supported asset for operational requirements here in the United States, allowing US Army combat assets to be deployed for combat missions. A comparable Huey-sized commercial off the shelf (COTS) helicopter would cost approximately $5M. The Bell 210 was billed as a zero-timed airframe with dual hydraulic system and new electrical system that would make it a like-new LUH to perform Army missions for the next 20-30 years. Fully supported commercially, it would relieve the Army of all engineering and logistical support burden.
The Bell 210 is a civil certified version of the US Army UH-1H. "The Bell 210 was also presented as a solution for the many agencies that continued to use the UH-1H in utility, Homeland Security, law enforcement or firefighting capacities. Bell advertised it as combining performance with an existing logistical base, unbeatable Direct Operating Costs and a low initial acquisition cost.
The Bell 210 helicopter satisfied the Army's requirement for a Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). There were many missions already supported by the US Army with assets that were marked for reduction in the coming years that the Bell 210 could more economically perform. These Army Light Utility Helicopters could perform future utility missions for non-combat organizations (TDA), National Guard utility, drug interdiction efforts (RAID), MEDEVAC, and Homeland Defense (HLD) missions.
Starting with a refurbished UH-1H fuselage, Bell Helicopter added dynamic components from the Bell 212 (main rotor hub and blades, tail rotor, main and tail rotor support structure, transmission, rotating controls, and tail boom), and an FAA certified Honeywell T-53-517B engine providing a zero-time FAA certified single engine medium utility helicopter. The Bell 210 would have a useful load that is 640 lbs higher than the UH-1H, 400 shaft horsepower increased horsepower available.
The Bell 210 was a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) helicopter that was expected to operate for less than $650 per hour, thus allowing the Army to unburden itself of logistics and engineering overhead management by taking advantage of Bell's global, world-class commercial support in spares, manuals, and technical support. This would have been similar to the TH-67 program currently in place at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. The Bell 210 was also advertised as coming with an excellent commercial products warranty and a significant reduction in operating costs. Cost of the Bell 210 was said to be approximately $3 million. A comparable Huey-sized off-the-shelf commercial aircraft was said to cost approximately $5 million.
The Bell 210, made its first flight 18 December 2004, and received its FAA Certification on July 2005 following a rigorous flight testing regimen at Bell affiliate company Edwards & Associates, Bristol, Tenn.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|