Bell Helicopter launched a slightly heavier weight variant of the 407GX with an blockbuster order for 200 aircraft from Air Methods, a US-based helicopter emergency medical services operator.

The 10-year contract calls for deliveries to begin in 2016 to the Colorado-headquartered company.

“Given the capabilities and performance of the Bell 407GXP, it is the right fit for our needs,” says Aaron Todd, chief executive of Air Methods.

The 407GXP updates the light-single, long-range aircraft with a Garmin G1000 flightdeck.

The Air Methods deal launches the 407GXP derivative, which adds 22.5kg (50lb) to the maximum take-off weight. The upgrade includes improvements to the Rolls-Royce M250 engine, along with a 500-flight hour extension to the time between overhaul rating.

All 200 aircraft ordered by Air Methods will be equipped with a United Rotorcraft emergency medical services interior. The aircraft is also outfitted with new avionics features such as a hover performance calculator improvement.