Bell H-1 Program Status

July 19, 2004
FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW - July 19, 2004 - The H-1 Program is a major upgrade to remanufacture the US Marine Corps fleet of AH-1W SuperCobra and UH-1N utility helicopters to an advanced configuration featuring common engines and flight dynamics. The program involves 100 UH-1N and 180 AH-1W SuperCobra helicopters. Upon completion, the AH-1W becomes the AH-1Z and the UH-1N becomes the UH-1Y.

Bell H-1The H-1 Upgrades Integrated Test Team, located at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, currently has achieved approximately 1,800 flight test hours with five aircraft (three AH-1Z and two UH-1Y test aircraft, of which all but one AH-1Z are production representative). The test aircraft have flown 222 knots, maneuvered from -0.4 to +3.5 g's, been well above the 10,000-foot altitude mark and recently completed their second operational assessment by fleet pilots. The report from that assessment is pending.

During 2004, Bell will remanufacture six UH-1N and three AH-1W helicopters to the UH-1Y and AH-1Z standard. A second LRIP (Low Rate Initial Production) lot, currently scheduled to be another six Hueys and three SuperCobras, should enter production in FY05.

The H-1 upgrades include an enormous amount of commonality between the two aircraft including engines (GE-T700 engines), four blade all composite, hingeless, bearingless main rotor system and tail rotor, identical drive trains, hydraulics and electrical distribution systems. By utilizing common systems the cost of the logistics support process for the two helicopters will be dramatically reduced and will allow for vastly improved shipboard operability. Far less critical shipboard space will be needed to store spare parts and support equipment to support the two helicopters comprising the H-1 Program.

Current advanced technology will provide the H-1 Fleet with increased battlefield survivability and greater mission success with fewer combat losses. In addition the crashworthiness of both the UH-1Y and the AH-1Z will be improved.

The H-1 Program will result in 280 essentially new aircraft for the US Marine Corps to operate beyond 2020. These will be "zero-time" airframes remanufactured with the latest technology. The H-1 Upgrade Program increases the speed, range, maneuverability and lift capability of both aircraft. The savings in maintenance staffing and training, ground handling and support equipment, and spare parts inventories equates to billions of dollars over the life of the program.

A major survivability upgrade to the AH-1Z/UH-1Y aircraft, currently in the latter stages of developmental flight made its first flights last month at the Bell Helicopter XworX facility in Arlington, Texas.

The upgrade consists of an integrated engine exhaust management system that turns the hot exhaust gases out and away from the aircraft's tail boom. Bell's Advance Programs unit has been exploring ways to improve survivability of the Cobra for several years, developing a solution by managing the exhaust flow and integrating off-the-shelf components, then turning the exhaust away from the helicopter's tail boom.

The upgrade, which will also be applied to currently fielded AH-1W Super Cobras, many of which are supporting Marine Corps operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, is the first major engineering prototype effort for Bell's XworX to benefit the H-1 program. Flight-testing of the turned exhaust modification on the AH-1W Super Cobra is scheduled to begin in October with fielding in March 2005.

With the turned exhaust-equipped AH-1Z returned to a flight status, XworX artisans are now turning their attention to performing the same modification on the 84 percent identical UH-1Y. Flight test on that Y-Model Huey will resume once the modification is completed.

First flight of the AH-1Z occurred in December 2000, with the UH-1Y first flight in 2001. There are three AH-1Z and two UH-1Y aircraft in flight-testing at NAS Patuxent River. The H-1 assembly lines will be located at Bell's 184-acre manufacturing facility at Amarillo International Airport.

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David Rosenberg, Vice President, Investor Relations
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