Just down the road from the Dallas Convention Center is the Arlington home of the long-awaited AW609 tiltrotor program. Following AgustaWestland’s move late last year to complete the full takeover of the program from former partner Bell Helicopters, the tiltrotor is a full-blown Italian now. While work on the program will continue in the Lone Star state, all roads lead not so much to Rome, as to Agusta’s headquarters at Cascina Costa, just north of Milan.
Aw, c’mon, Textron. Seriously?
You don’t want Electronic Arts (EA) to use depictions of some of your rotorcraft in the video game Battlefield 3? You’re claiming that EA’s use of images of the AH-1Z, UH-1Y and V-22 infringe on your trademark and dress right?
Several filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Bell Helicopter Textron in late December provide strong hints of new product announcements likely to come next month at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo convention in Dallas. According to the filings, Bell is requesting trademarks for “525SMT,” “Magellan” and “407GT.”
Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron is reportedly conducting a “strategic review” that could result in the divestiture of some of its businesses, according to Reuters. Similar speculation surfaced about two years ago, with no spin-offs resulting. However, analysts believe that the outcome might be different this time, as Textron’s defense businesses encounter declining military spending. Bell Helicopter was specifically named in the story as being a candidate for divestiture.
Bell will build its new medium-twin Magellan helicopter in Texas, company CEO John Garrison revealed in a memo sent to employees yesterday.
Bell Helicopter has put a price on playing catch-up: $1 billion. That’s how much the Textron company plans to spend on accelerated research and development, new and renovated facilities, taxable inventory and operations during the next four to five years. It’s all in an effort to recapture some of the market share Bell has lost to Eurocopter and AgustaWestland over the last three decades.
Bell Helicopter is launching a $1 billion facilities and product modernization program. The $240 million project will create a new office building and training academy in Fort Worth. As part of the plan Bell will relocate workers currently at its Alliance Airport and other area sites. Bell is seeking substantial local tax abatement to help finance the upgrades.
The Bell 407GX earned EASA certification yesterday, following similar approvals by Transport Canada and the FAA earlier this year.
Bell Helicopter Textron has high hopes that three aircraft making their Dubai Air Show debuts–the Bell 407AH and 429, and Bell Boeing V-22 tiltrotor–will soon find permanent homes in the Middle East.
Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) is convinced that its decision to expand globally, driven partly by local competition in the offshore oil and gas industry, is proving correct. The company now has contracts in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Spain, Pakistan, Eritrea, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Australia, India, Afghanistan and Indonesia, and more in the pipeline.