Bell Helicopter has announced updates to its 525 Relentless program, which include improved speed, range and payload capabilities, as well as a higher maximum gross weight.
The enhanced specifications include a cruise speed at maximum continuous power and maximum gross weight of 155+kts (306 kph), a range of 500+nm (926 km) and a useful load of 7,400+lbs (3,357 kg). The maximum gross weight for the Relentless is 19,300+ lbs (8,754 kg).
Based on customer feedback, Bell has also updated design features. Sponsons were added to the aft fuselage for retractable wheeled landing gear and internally-stowed floatation devices. The sponsons will provide a weight-efficient configuration for fuel-efficient, high-speed flight. In addition, a cross-sectional area of the tail boom was reduced to optimise payload and airframe lateral drag in sideward flight. Cowls and fairings above the cabin roof were modified for easy maintenance. With the input of pilots, the flightdeck arrangement was slightly adjusted to further improve situational awareness.
“The Bell 525 Relentless program truly exemplifies our focus on meeting the mission needs of our customers,” said John Garrison, CEO of Bell Helicopter. “The updates are further evidence we are delivering on our customer commitment to provide an aircraft that delivers unmatched, cost-effective performance.”
The Relentless is progressing towards its first flight in 2014. Bell will begin assembling the first 525 Relentless later this month.