Bell Helicopter has secured a firm order from China's Shaanxi Helicopter for 100 407GXPs, converting a tentative agreement signed in 2016.

Deliveries of the light-twins will start this year, says Bell, which assembles the Rolls-Royce M250-powered type at its facility in Mirabel, Canada.

Support, training and delivery infrastructure will be gradually built up in the country, says Shaanxi.

The deal is the latest in a series of large sales to China by the Western helicopter manufacturers as increasingly open airspace spurs interest in rotorcraft operations.

Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo Helicopters have both secured big orders in the country, with the former in late May breaking ground on a new Chinese production facility for the H135 light-twin on the back of an initial 100-unit deal.