The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of Bell 412 enhanced performance (EP) helicopters and associated equipment to Iraq.
Under the estimated $300m FMS, Iraq has requested the supply of a total of 12 Bell 412 EP helicopters fitted with Star SAFIRE III electro optical/infrared (EO/IR) systems, Pratt and Whitney PT6T-3DF engines, KDM-706 distance measuring equipment, KNR 634 VOR/LOC with MB/HSI, and MST67A transponder.
Additional equipment to be supplied include the Artex C406-1HM emergency locator transmitter, Wulfsberg FlexComm II C5000 system with synthesised guard, KTR-908 very high frequency radios, NAT AA-95 audio system, 660 weather radar, AAI radome, night vision imaging system (NVIS) compatible cockpit lighting, and SX-16 Nightsun systems.
The package also features spare and repair parts, a support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, and other related elements of programme and logistics support.
Along with providing Iraq with a search-and-rescue capability critical to development of a mature air force, the helicopters are also expected to help the country in achieving air sovereignty.
The potential sale directly contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to enhance the security of its strategic partner country.
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Bell Helicopter Textron will serve as prime contractor for the FMS programme.
An advanced version of the Bell 412 medium-lift helicopter, the Bell 412 EP is designed to conduct troop transport, search-and-rescue (SAR), firefighting, and maritime patrol missions in all weather conditions.
Introduced in the mid-1990s, the helicopter features a redundant digital automatic flight control system and is currently operated by the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) as a Griffin HT1 advanced training helicopter and Griffin HAR2 SAR, and in the Canadian forces as a CH-146 Griffon.
Image: A Bell 412EP Griffin HT1 helicopter of the Royal Air Force taxis to the runway at the 2010 Air Tattoo. Photo: courtesy of Arpingstone.