The Bangladesh Army has set a requirement for two Bell 407GXi helicopters, while the Police is looking for an additional chopper to augment its young fleet of helicopters.
Specific requirement for the Bell 407 came up in numerous Army procurement documents for other equipment such as landing craft, whereby it is stated helipads on the 75 m long landing craft should be capable of safely landing a Eurocopter Dauphin AS365N3+, Bell 206L and Bell 407GXi. One unit of Bell 407GXi has already been delivered since requirement set in 2017-18.
This is in contrast to the disclosure made in social media channels such as Plane Spotters Bangladesh and Scramble Magazine where it is reported the Bangladesh Army Aviation Group is seeking two new Western helicopters with Bell 429 and Bell 412 being shortlisted. The Bell 407 is mentioned as supplementary information to account for the Bangladesh Police inventory, which has two Bell 407s in operation currently. The disclosure was made on January 2020, however the information obtained by Defseca.com is dated 04 July 2021.
Bell 407GXi utility helicopter
The Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter; a derivative of the Bell 206L-4 LongRanger. The 407 uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with composite hub developed for the United States Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior instead of the two-blade, semi-rigid, teetering rotor of the 206L-4.
It is powered by the Rolls Royce 250-C47E/4 turbine FADEC engine, which delivers a cruise speed of 133 kts (246 kph). It is fitted with the Garmin G1000H NXi flight deck, that provides critical information for crews at a glance allowing for greater situational awareness and safety compared to previous Bell 206L, also operated by the Bangladesh Army.
Seating is availed for two crew members plus five passengers in the cabin.
The empty weight of the helicopter is 2,700 kg and maximum gross weight with external load is 6,000. A total of 3,100 kgs can be carried externally by cargo hook.
The armed variant can transform the basic utility workhorse in to a scout helicopter.
The Bell 407M armed variant is equipped with a TekFusion global weapons management system, advanced EO/IR sensor and CFD international ordnance mounting system that can allow the helicopter to carry various mission kits such as external auxiliary fuel cells, target spotting laser and mounts, external personnel carriers and weapons mounts. The modularity of the OMS – integrated with high-capacity ammunition magazines – allow for two to four configuration guided and unguided weapons stations and provides an optional sixth station endcap missile mount. Armaments such as 7.62 mm machine guns/gun pods, .50 calibre machine guns/gun pods, 2.75 in rockets/rocket pods, plus guided weapons such as Griffin and HELLFIRE missiles can be mounted.
This variant is also equipped with armoured pilot seats and ballistic-tolerant main rotor blades, as well as self-sealing fuels system and infrared suppression system. The helicopter is equipped with passive detection of surface-to-air missiles and protection through chafe-flare.
If the Bangladesh Army were to procure the armed variant it would increase survivability and overall battlefield utility of the Bell transforming it in to an invaluable battlefield scout or commanders taxi.
The TekFusion Global Pathfinder mission management system enables can be used to display weapons engagement zones on the moving map. Crew training can be availed from Fort Worth, Texas or BTA Singapore, while Bangladesh Army and Air Force maintain capabilities to fully maintain the Bell lineup indigenously.