Bell Helicopter has received its first order for its armed Bell 407GT helicopter, from BBM Inc, which will operate the type in the Middle East and Africa.
The helicopter will be used to perform a variety of missions including law enforcement and homeland security, Bell said in a statement on 27 May.
“We are thrilled to be the launch customer and to introduce the Bell 407GT to the Middle East and Africa,” said Fred Hees, CEO of BBM Inc. “We were very impressed by the aircraft’s performance and unique capabilities, and are excited to bring this advanced aircraft to our customers in the region to provide a cost effective armed aircraft solution. Our initial success with the Bell 407GX has expanded our capability exponentially in the Middle East and African markets.”
BBM Inc purchased 16 Bell 407GXs earlier this year, and has signed a letter of intent for a Bell 505 and a Bell 525.
The Bell 407GT is the armed version of the Bell 407GX, derived from the US Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The helicopter is qualified for a range of weapons from light munitions to advanced laser-guided munitions. The light commercial helicopter brings together the Garmin G1000HTM flight deck with precision weapons capability. Standard specifications include a multi-sensor camera system, weapons management system, universal weapons pylons, tactical radio suite, target sight system, sliding doors for rapid egress and ingress and high-visibility windows for the cockpit and cabin.
“The Middle East is a huge market for the Bell 407GT and we see this aircraft really growing in the region,” said Steve Suttles, vice president and managing director of sales in the Middle East and Africa. “BBM Inc.’s aircraft is set to go into service later this year, and we are excited for the region to be able to witness the missions this aircraft is capable of completing.
US-based BBM said it offers services specialising in equipment sourcing and brokering, analysis and logistics to security and systems integration. Its website said it can provide hardware sourcing, logistics, air and sea transportation, forward base set-up, unexploded ordnance detection and disposal, threat analysis and intelligence.
“Every year the Middle East and Africa require more affordable and reliable airborne and ground-based transportation, along with helicopter platforms,” BBM said. “We are honoured…to lead the way in air-support efforts against clear-and-present threats such as terrorism, extremist movements, infectious diseases, natural disasters, global climate change, and anti-poaching efforts in Africa.”