ADM Podcasts are a blend of public interest journalism and sponsored content with a focus on the Defence community. Conversations with leaders and thinkers from a range of backgrounds including academia, Defence, industry, and associations, ADM Podcasts aims to educate, explain and explore some of the bigger issues around Defence.
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In this episode, Grant McHerron and Katherine Ziesing, Managing Editor of ADM, talk with Dan McQuestin, Business Development Director for Bell responsible for Australia, NZ & PNG.
Our discussion includes a history of Bell's products in Australia and, specifically, with Army Aviation who have operated Bell products for all but the last two years since its inception 50 years ago. Dan also reviews the Bell 429 which is being proposed by both Babcock and Hawker Pacific as a solution to Army Aviaton Special Forces' rotary wing program (Land 2097).
Dan also talks about the AH-1Z Viper, a modern, marinised version of the AH-1 in service with the US Marines and under consideration to meet Army Aviation's ARH Tiger replacement program (Land 4503). Bell have teamed with BAE Systems Australia to supply and support in Australian service the Viper should it be selected.
We then discuss the importance of global teaming and establishing well developed partnerships with local companies to support Bell equipment in civilian & Defence operations. Dan notes how local partnering can lead to a number of opportunities for Australian industry to support and build on the two new Army Aviation programs.
Looking beyond the current programs, we also discuss the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program in the US where Bell has put forward the V-280 Valor tilt rotor for the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) and the Bell 360 Invictus for the Future Attack Reconnaisance Aircraft (FARA). Both products have potential to meet future Army Aviation requirements as they are expected to be modelled on the FVL program.
Dan explains how Bell have established a central, global command centre using information provided by Bell and partner organisations around the world to assist with monitoring operations and managing maintenance. Thanks to the use of this information and predictive analysis, Bell have been able to increase availability of their helicopters from 80% up to 96%.
We wrap up the episode by stepping through some of Bell's innovative work behind new and developing products, including the lift enhancing sculptured tail boom on the Bell 525, the Autonomous Pod Transport logistics drone and the electrically distributed anti-torque system recently trialled on a Bell 429.
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