Texan television channel KHOU has broadcast footage of the crash landing site of the prototype of Bell Helicopter's armed reconaissance helicopter (ARH) on a golf course in a Dallas suburb.

The ARH-70A, a military four-blade variant of the Bell 407, made a hard landing on Walnut Creek Country Club in Mansfield, Texas yesterday afternoon at around 14:30 as golfers looked on. Video images from news helicopters show the helicopter on its side, its body covered with an orange tarpaulin. Debris, including part of the tail section bearing the legend "United States Army" were scattered around the fairway.

No one was hurt in the accident. Bell has not commented on the incident yet. The US Army plans to buy 368 ARHs to replace its OH-58B Kiowa Warriors, and the US National Guard may buy another 120.

The ARH was programme was running around a year behind schedule when it took its maiden flight in July last year. It is not clear what impact this incident may have on the programme. The 36-month development contract was awarded in August 2005 with an initial goal of  30-aircraft units equipped by October 2008. Prior to this incident Bell had shifted this goal to July 2009 amd projected a production ramp-up to just under 50 units per year by 2010.

Source: FlightGlobal.com