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At a ceremony held this week, Bell, a Textron Inc. company, and Subaru Corporation announced that the Japan National Police Agency (JPNA) has placed the first order for a Subaru Bell 412EPX.
“We thank the National Police Agency for its trust,” said Mitch Snyder, president and chief executive officer. “These aircraft will contribute to the overall safety and security of the people in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture. We look forward to further collaboration and continued success with Subaru for many years to come.”
“We are honored that Subaru received the world’s first order for the Subaru Bell 412EPX by the Japanese National Police Agency. We thank Bell for its great cooperation and, together, we are committed to delivering the highest quality Subaru Bell 412EPX to the National Police Agency,” said Shoichiro Tozuka, corporate senior vice president of Subaru Corporation and the aerospace company president. “This order is the first milestone to bringing the Subaru Bell 412EPX to customers around the world.”
Last year, Bell and Subaru announced their collaboration on a commercial enhancement of the Subaru Bell 412EPX, the newest upgrade of the renowned Bell 412 series, which was co-developed by the two companies as the platform for the New Utility Helicopter for JMOD (Japan Ministry of Defense) program. Subaru delivered the prototype to the New Utility Helicopter to JMOD for testing in February 2019.
Together with Subaru’s unique laser peening technology, the Subaru Bell 412EPX will benefit from a more robust main rotor gearbox dry run capability, increased internal maximum gross weight to 12,200 lbs. and mast torque output of +11 percent at speeds below 60 knots. This will provide operators the ability to transport more supplies and achieve better operational efficiency.
The Bell 412 has the impeccable reputation of reliability in some of the most extreme climates. Its versatile cabin accommodates an array of options to suit any specific mission needs. The Bell 412 continues to be the twin-engine helicopter of choice in the para-public sector, with governments in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, United States and Thailand incorporating the aircraft in their operations.
Bell’s history in Japan started with the delivery of three Bell 47D-1s to Mainichi Press, Yomiuri Press and Chunichi Press on Nov. 24, 1952. Historically, Bell has supplied most of the helicopters — more than 1,500 aircraft — that have been used or are still in service in Japan.
Subaru has a long established partnership with Bell since 1960s for the licensed production of the HU-1B/204B. Since then, through the cooperation with Bell, Subaru has been manufacturing and supporting more than 400 helicopters in Japan, including the UH-1H/204B-2, UH-1J/205B and AH-1S to the JMOD.
Subaru has been providing helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul support to the Japan Coast Guard, Japan National Police Agency, and to the Japan Firefighting and Disaster Relief Government Agencies.