IAe, Bell offer 412EP to Indonesian army

Singapore
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Indonesia's army plans to add 24 utility helicopters, with Indonesian Aerospace and Bell Helicopter teaming for the pitch.

The army wants to have two squadrons of utility helicopters, totalling 24 aircraft, plus 18 attack helicopters, say industry sources.

For the utility helicopter requirement, state-owned aircraft-maker IAe is putting forward the Bell 412EP.

Indonesia's army has 31 412HP/SPs already in use, as listed in Flightglobal's HeliCAS database. IAe manufactured the airframes, which the army took delivery of between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s.

IAe plans to import the first batch of 412EPs in kit form, perform final assembly and be responsible for the installation of client equipment, industry sources say. However, it wants to also manufacture the fuselages for subsequent aircraft, they add.

Bell and IAe have already signed a memorandum of understanding, but have yet to sign a final contract, as some details need to be worked through. The army also has yet to sign a firm contract for the aircraft.

An enhanced performance version of the 412 with a dual digital automatic flight-control system, the EP uses a relatively old platform. However, one source notes that its advantage over rival AgustaWestland and Eurocopter product offerings is that some of the army's key decision-makers are familiar with the 412, having flown it in the past.