Bell Helicopter is nearing completion of deliveries of the 407GX utility helicopters to NorthStar Aviation for conversion into the Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH) light attack and armed reconnaissance platform, it was announced at the Dubai Airshow 2015.
To date, 48 of 56 407GX helicopters have been handed over to Abu Dhabi-based NorthStar ahead of conversion into the MRH. This conversion work includes integrating new avionics and a night-vision-goggle-compatible Garmin G1000H cockpit, military communications and navigation equipment, a chin-mounted FLIR Systems Star Safire 260-HLD electro-optic/infrared sensor turret, and a combination of AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, 70-mm rocket pods, GAU-19 12.7-mm chain guns, and 7.62-mm M134 miniguns.
NorthStar first revealed its MRH at the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi earlier this year. While the company has not commented publicly on customers for its platform, it is understood that it was awarded a contract for 30 MRH helicopters for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Indeed, UAE-operated MRHs were recently pictured operating in Yemen, and at least two examples were on static display at the Dubai Airshow. It is not clear if all of the 56 helicopters referenced by Bell are earmarked for the UAE or whether a second customer has been signed up but not announced. […]