Bell has narrowly met a US Navy deadline to secure instrument flight rules (IFR) certification on its 407GXi light-single helicopter.

Bidders for the navy's Advanced Helicopter Training System contest were required to secure the IFR approval in August.

Bell was the only one of the three competitors – who also include Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo – to not have gained US Federal Aviation Administration certification for their rotorcraft. However, that validation was granted on 15 August.

The 407GXi is being pitched against the Airbus Helicopters H135 light-twin and Leonardo TH-119 light-single to replace the US Navy's Bell TH-57 Sea Ranger fleet.

Bell argues that its helicopter would offer a low-risk solution "by streamlining instructor pilot and maintainer transition training as well as using common support equipment and infrastructure".

The navy is expected to select its preferred bidder for the 130-unit deal later this year.