Bell Helicopter has announced it will relocate the production of three key programs in order to optimise manufacturing capabilities across its facility network.
Effective immediately, the 505 Jet Ranger X final assembly in Lafayette, Louisiana, will be relocated to the company’s Mirabel, Canada, assembly and delivery centre to make way for the 525 Relentless cabin subassembly, relocating from its Amarillo, Texas, facility.
The Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle modification work will also relocate to Lafayette from Bell’s facility in Ozark, Alabama.
“The relocation of these programs will enable the company to optimise its manufacturing footprint across multiple sites while maximising the core capabilities of each facility,” said Bell Helicopter president and chief executive Mitch Snyder.
“Mirabel is a vital part of Bell Helicopter’s long term growth strategy and this move confirms our commitment to our Mirabel workforce and infrastructure. We also remain committed to Louisiana, where we have received tremendous support from the state and local government.”
In August 2015, Bell officially opened its brand new US$26.3 million (A$36.4 million) 505 Jet Ranger X assembly centre at Lafayette Regional Airport where it was announced serial production of the 505 would start there this year.
Bell built its first three 505 flight test vehicles at Mirabel and is working closely with Transport Canada to achieve type certification and production certification before the end of this year ahead of beginning production and deliveries.
Bell said the moves were not expected to impact the certification timelines of the 525 or 505.