South Korea has signed a contract worth 170 billion won (US$132.8 million) with a U.S. aerospace firm, Bell Textron Asia, to purchase some 40 trainer helicopters by 2025. The South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) inked the deal with the firm on May 6 to procure the Bell 505 helicopters and eight simulators to train Army and Navy pilots, its officials said. The simulators are to be manufactured by a Korean firm. The South Korean military plans to start deploying the helicopters to the Republic of Korea Armed Forces (Daehanminguk Gukgun) next year.
The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X (Bell 505 or JRX) is an American/Canadian light helicopter developed by Bell Helicopter and produced by Bell Textron Canada. The Bell 505 was unveiled at the 2013 Paris Airshow in June 2013 as the Bell SLS (Short Light Single). Its first flight occurred on November 11, 2014. The helicopter was certified by Transport Canada in December 2016. The 505 was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration in June 2017 and received high altitude certification (22,500 feet density altitude) in June 2019. Bell delivered the 100th 505 Jet Ranger X in June 2018, and the 200th in August 2019.
With most training helicopters globally comprising light single helicopters, the Bell 505 is well suited to prepare future military pilots all around the globe to meet the myriad of challenges they will face in their missions. The Bell 505 is Bell’s newest five-seat aircraft designed for safety, efficiency and reliability. With the latest Garmin avionics and dual channel FADEC-controlled engine, the Bell 505 is the most advanced short light single aircraft on the market. These provide pilots a higher level of situational awareness and a reduction in workload, making the 505 simple to operate.
The Bell 505 is the most advanced helicopter in its class. Every detail has been considered in its design, starting with the large, customizable cabin and fully integrated high-tech features. The aircraft provides superb visibility and panoramic views due to the glass cockpit, aided by comfortable stadium seating. Recently, the Bell 505 team celebrated the 60th European delivery to Montenegro Air Force, the first Bell 505NXi sale to Slovakia and delivery to the Indonesia Navy. With worldwide operators from Mexico to Poland and Czech Republic to New Zealand, the aircraft operates in 59 countries. There are more than 300 Bell 505s operating in 55 countries across all six continents.