Subaru and Bell helicopters have announced a new multipurpose Bell 412EXP. Bell has said they plan to sell 150 models of this Bell 412. Subaru stopped making commercial helicopters 23 years ago.
“Subaru will focus on Asia, and Bell on Europe and the U.S., as we sell commercial helicopters around the world,” Shoichiro Tozuka, executive vice president in charge of Subaru’s in-house aerospace company, told Nikkei in a Tuesday interview. This will mark the first time Subaru directly sells its helicopters abroad.
The joint model is based on Bell’s best-selling 412EPI, allowing the companies to spend half as much money as they would have designing from scratch. Its safety features include the ability to continue flying for 30 minutes after running out of lubricant oil. Subaru was in charge of the transmission system, among other things.
Subaru currently produces military helicopters under a license from Bell. It is expected to start supplying UH-X helicopters (a military derivative of the 412EPX) to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in 2022, and hopes synergies with the new commercial version will help reduce costs.
(Our Bell 412EP)