Bell Helicopters is about to conclude Kenya’s order for eight Huey II helicopters, and will deliver five for Uganda in the third quarter of this year.
This emerged during the recent Paris Air Show, when a Bell Helicopters executive told IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly that one Huey II for Kenya was in Amsterdam on its way to the East African nation and should be delivered last week, with the final example to follow quickly afterwards.
The Kenya Air Force received its first six Huey IIs in December 2016. In September last year the US Department of Defence announced that it had awarded Bell Helicopter a foreign military sales contract worth $52.1 million for the supply of an initial five Huey II helicopters and spares for Kenya.
Kenya has also requested 12 MD 530F armed light helicopters from MD Helicopters in the United States, and is receiving an unknown number of second hand AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters from Jordan.
Bell was in September 2016 awarded a $34.5 million contract for five helicopters for Uganda. Work will have been completed on the Ugandan and Kenyan contracts by 29 December 2017. “We’re getting ready to deliver five to Uganda as well,” Arnie Easterly, Bell Helicopters director for sales and marketing in Africa told IHS Janes. “They should arrive [in] the third quarter of this year.”
Easterly said Bell expects additional helicopter orders from Africa as it is actively promoting its aircraft across the continent.
The UH-1H Huey II is powered by a 1 800 shp Honeywell T53-L-703 engine (replacing the original Lycoming), leading to an increase in hover performance in hot conditions and increasing the maximum gross weight to 4 763 kg. Along with the Bell Huey II kit installation, Bell Helicopter refurbishes the Bell UH-1H basic airframe to OEM standards (zero timing the airframe), provides a complete rewire, updates the avionics (including an optional glass cockpit) and offers a comprehensive selection of mission specific kits and customization.
Other features include rollover bulkheads, rupture-resistant fuel cells, wire strike protection and jettisonable crew doors. The Huey II has a useful load of 2 200 kg, endurance of 2.6 hours and max cruise speed of 196 km/h at maximum gross weight.