The Bell 429s operated under Navy’s Retention and Motivation Initiative 2 (RMI 2) program have been upgraded with a 225kg increased max takeoff weight (to 3,405kg), bringing with it an increase in the helicopter’s payload-range.
“With this upgrade, one aircraft can now execute substantially more tasks in a single mission,” RMI contractor Raytheon said in a statement. “During conversion training, the endurance level for a sortie with a crew of four has increased by 35 per cent. Operationally, the radius of action has grown by 100 per cent for some missions and the payload has increased by two people. This means that for missions where the platform could previously take four crew members, it can now carry six and still fly for 20 minutes longer. ”
Additionally, the RMI 429s’ avionics has also been upgraded with the addition of a Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System.
RMI 2 enables junior qualified aircrew to consolidate and enhance their skills before they commence operational flying training. Raytheon Australia works alongside the RAN at HMAS Albatross to provide 1,500 flight hours a year using three Bell 429 helicopters.