Last Updated on Saturday, 31 October 2020, 12:21 by Denis Chabrol
The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale of two Bell 412EPi and two Bell 429 helicopters to Guyana for an estimated US$256 million, the Defence Post reported on Saturday.
While the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is expected to be involved in processing some paperwork at a later stage, that agency’s Director-General, Retired Lt. Col. Egbert Field said the purchase would be extremely beneficial to Guyana. “The acquisition would not only be beneficial in the area of security but also in search and rescue,” he told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News.
The sale is approved under the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sale (FMS) program. The U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees FMS sales, delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Oct. 30.
The Government of Guyana has requested to buy two Bell 412EPi Light Utility Helicopters with customer-unique modifications; two Bell 429 Light Utility Helicopters with customer-unique modifications; two WESCAM MX-10 cameras; mission equipment; contractor-provided pilot and maintainer training; particular ground support equipment; spares; publications; integrated product support; technical assistance; transportation; Repair and Return; and other related elements of logistics and program support.
The principal contractor will be Bell Helicopter Textron Incorporated (BHTI), Piney Flats, TN.
According to a statement released by DSCA, “this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve security of Guyana, which is expected to grow to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in South America”.
“The proposed sale of the Bell 412EPi and 429 helicopters will improve Guyana’s capability to meet current and future threats. Guyana will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense; conduct maritime surveillance, patrol, and interdiction; counter narcotic trafficking and transnational criminal organizations; deter regional threats; and support coalition partners overseas. Guyana will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces”, the statement said.
“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region”, the statement added.
The Bell 429 GlobalRanger is a light, twin-engine helicopter developed by Bell Helicopter and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The helicopter is capable of single-pilot IFR and Runway Category A operations.
Bell 412EPi is latest variant of the Bell 412 helicopter and an upgrade of the 412EP (Enhanced Performance). The helicopter is equipped with an electronic (Digital) engine control for a PT6T-9 engine upgrade and a glass cockpit display system similar to the Bell 429.