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Bell to Upgrade 27 Additional OH-58Ds

FORT WORTH, TEXAS --- Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, this month began modifications to the first of 27 OH-58D aircraft that are slated to enter the Kiowa Warrior Safety Enhancement Program.

A total of 27 aircraft from the 1-230th Air Cavalry Squadron of the Tennessee Army National Guard will be upgraded as part of Lot 11 of the Safety Enhancement Program. The $30 million contract, awarded April 30, calls for three aircraft to be completed in 2008, and the remaining 24 aircraft to be delivered in 2009. The work will be done at Bell Helicopter’s Plant 1 facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

These OH-58Ds will be upgraded with an improved engine and improved computer control systems. The improvements are part of a series of safety and performance modifications the Army has implemented to keep the OH-58D armed reconnaissance helicopter safe and mission effective until it is retired.

The US Army fleet of Kiowa helicopters has accumulated in excess of 1.5 million flight hours and over 380,000 combat flight hours. Despite these high usage rates, daily combat scenarios and harsh environmental conditions, the OH-58D continues to achieve readiness rates above 85 percent.

Bell will begin testing various elements of this system later this year with the program targeted to complete in 2010.

Bell Helicopter is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

Bell Helicopter Receives Contract to Enter 27 Additional OH-58Ds into Safety Enhancement Program