Bell and partner Subaru have unveiled the 412EPX commercial helicopter, an upgraded version of the US manufacturer's medium-twin, which will form the basis of a new military model for Japan.

In 2015, the pair were selected by Tokyo under the UH-X contest to replace the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force's current fleet of UH-1J troop transports, with local assembly of the 150 aircraft a condition of the contract.

Deliveries are expected in 2022, a year later than promised when the contract was signed.

Bell says the UH-X will be a militarised derivative of the 412EPX.

A commercial variant was always envisaged as part of the development; Bell says the type achieved US Federal Aviation Administration certification on 5 July.

Improvements over the current iteration, the 412EPI, focus on the main gearbox, which has an enhanced dry-run capability and helps to lift the type's maximum gross weight to 5,530kg (12,200lb), up from 5,360kg currently. Mast torque output also increases by 11% at speeds below 60kt (111km/h).

The 412EPX will be available to customers globally, through both partners, Bell says, although does not clarify where the helicopter will be made.

Bell currently assembles the 412EPI at its facility in Mirabel, Canada.

Source: Flight Daily News