Andrzej Jeziorski/MUNICH

DORNIER LUFTFAHRT has signed with Bell Helicopter Textron to make a joint bid for a light-transport-helicopter requirement from Germany's Federal Border Guard (BGS).

The BGS wants to replace 13 of its fleet of 19 single-engined UH-1D Hueys in 1998. The remaining six Hueys will either be used to provide spares, or be handed over to the armed forces.

Bell and Dornier are to propose the twin-turbine Bell 412 for the requirement. Dornier Luftfahrt will be the prime contractor, and will carry out final assembly and manufacture of components if the 412 are selected, says Fairchild Dornier president James Robinson.

The BGS is expected to issue a request for proposals at the end of November, subject to approval from the parliamentary budget committee. Dornier and Bell will compete against Eurocopter, which is to propose its EC135 twin-turbine light helicopter.

The new requirement supersedes earlier BGS plans to upgrade its Hueys to UH-1HP Huey II standards, with Lycoming T53-L-703 engines offering more take-off power and payload.

BGS says that the upgrade was dropped because the Huey II would still fail to meet tightened JAR regulations due in 2004. It was also felt that the upgrade was too expensive, given the fleet's age - the BGS UH-1s are between 25 and 28 years old.

The Huey fleet is used on a mixture of border patrol and emergency medical services (EMS) duties, with eight helicopters equipped as dedicated EMS aircraft. The new helicopters will be for patrol and transport duties only, with the EMS role left to the BGS Eurocopter BO105 fleet.

The Border Guard leased 17 BO105 CBS-5 Super Fives from Eurocopter early this year to replace older BO105 CBs. Six aircraft remain to be delivered by July 1997, after which the BGS will have a total fleet of 22 Super Fives.

Dornier and Bell co-operated on the original German UH-1D programme for the armed forces and the BGS.

Source: Flight International