Raytheon Australia to receive first Australian navy Bell 429

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Raytheon Australia has commenced acceptance activities for the first of three Bell 429 helicopters that will be used to train Royal Australian Navy (RAN) pilots.

In September 2011, Raytheon Australia won a A$24 million contract ($25.9 million) to provide the RAN with three new Bell 429s for 1,500 tasking hours per year, said Raytheon.

The aircraft will be used under the navy's Retention and Motivation Initiative (RMI) 2.

"The RMI initiative provides the navy with supported aircraft to allow junior qualified aircrew to consolidate and enhance their skills prior to flying operational helicopters," said Raytheon.

©Raytheon Australia

The company will formally receive the first Bell 429 in the US in the coming days, with the aircraft to be flown to Australia "in the subsequent weeks".

"Raytheon Australia has been impressed with Bell Helicopter's responsiveness to our RMI requirements and the announcement of these latest activities will ensure on-schedule commencement of the RMI 2 programme in late April this year," said Raytheon Australia managing director Michael Ward.

The Bell 429s will replace the RAN's three AgustaWestland A109Es.