FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom --– At a ceremony held at Farnborough Air Show today, Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company and Subaru Corporation announced their collaboration on a commercial enhancement of the Bell 412 EPI, which was type-certified this month as the 412 EPX, in support of the Japan UH-X program.
In 2015, Bell’s long-term partner, Subaru (formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries), was awarded the contract for the Japan UH-X program to replace Japan Ground Self Defence Force’s (JGSDF) current fleet of UH-1J aircraft with a militarized derivative of the Subaru-Bell 412EPX, which will enable the JGSDF to protect and save lives across its challenging topography, while addressing Japan’s unique requirements.
With improved performance and safety features, the Subaru Bell 412 EPX will also provide more capability while maintaining its long-established reputation for utility and reliability for commercial customers.
“Our relationship with Subaru extends over six decades. Together, we were the first to deliver military helicopters to Japan’s defense force. We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration on the UH-X and the 412 EPX Programs,” said Mitch Snyder, Bell President and CEO.
“Under cooperation with BELL, the SUBARU BELL 412EPX will provide a great opportunity to expand the commercial business. Further, the UH-X, which will replace the current UH-1J aircraft, will start delivery to JGSDF in 2022 and will be deployed for island defense and disaster relief efforts,” said Shoichiro Tozuka, Corporate Executive Vice President and President of Aerospace Company, Subaru.
The Subaru Bell 412EPX will benefit from a more robust main rotor gearbox dry run capability, increased internal Maximum Gross Weight to 12,200 lbs. and mast torque output of +11% at speeds below 60 knots. This will provide operators the ability to transport more supplies and achieve better operational efficiency.
The Subaru Bell 412EPX commercial variant is planned to become available to customers globally through Subaru and Bell in the future. A commercial prototype has undergone testing at Bell’s facility in Mirabel, Canada, and FAA certification was achieved on July 5, 2018.