Bell MAPL Project Progressing

March 14, 2004

HAI 2004 - Las Vegas, NV - March 14, 2004 - Bell's Modular Affordable Product Line (MAPL) of helicopters is making significant progress as development continues on the technologically advanced products. Plan calls for aircraft to be designed, built and certified by the end of the decade.

 Bell began development last year of the technology for MAPL, a family of light helicopters, including both single and twin-engine models. The MAPL family is being designed to provide break through productivity gains for Bell customers.

Bell market research on the MAPL concept has shown us that our customers' price is the clear driver of customer satisfaction and that our initial targets of speed, payload, and noise are preferred. In response to our customers some of the design characteristics designed into the aircraft are:

  • 20% productivity improvement via speed and useful load improvements

  • 20% reduction in operating costs

  • 10 dB noise reduction

  • 99% dispatch reliability

 

In order to achieve the high reliability rating desired, Bell has embarked on technology maturation for the MAPL family. Key technologies being developed by Bell include the main rotor, drive train, autopilot, and noise control. In addition, suppliers are working on engine technologies and avionics to meet customer requirements

To provide customer desired comfort along with affordability, Bell designers have developed fuselage concepts providing more space for pilots and passengers. By developing a modular construction technique offering significant commonality across the product line, Bell's investment and recurring costs are reduced thus providing a more affordable product for our customer

In keeping with Bell's aim to provide current customers with product improvements, engineers are also working on a plan to insert MAPL technology into our existing product line. This will benefit the customer in two ways: first by improving the performance and cost of Bell's legacy products and second by maturing key technologies in service before the MAPL aircraft enter service.

Bell Helicopter Textron, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., is a $1.6 billion, leading producer of commercial and military helicopters, and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce of over 7,500 employees serves customers flying Bell aircraft in over 120 countries.

Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) is a $10 billion multi-industry company with more than 43,000 employees in 40 countries. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others. More information is available at www.textron.com.

Connect with Textron IR

David Rosenberg, Vice President, Investor Relations
(401) 457-2288
Kyle Williams, Manager, Investor Relations
(401) 457-2288

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