20 March 2019

MAS Talks / Andrea Bryan (Bell Flight)- Romania showed its interest for the Bell H1- Bell AH-1Z Viper and the UH-1Y Venom family - VIDEO

Mircea Olteanu

Bell’s project in Romania, for assembly of military helicopters and long-term maintenance, is a stepping-stone for the company into other future potential collaboration with local industry, Andrea Bryan, International Military Business Development Manager at Bell, told MEDIAFAX and Monitorul Apărării si Securităţii.

Andrea Bryan, International Military Business Development Manager at Bell, one of the leading aircraft manufacturers in the world, talked, in an interview for MEDIAFAX and Monitorul Apărării si Securităţii, about the status of the negotiations between Romania and the US company for the procurement of military helicopters, which are due to be assembled locally, in partnership with Romanian industry.

Also, the senior representative of the US company presented several strong points of the Bell AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters, highlighting the commonality between the two platforms, which means lower operating costs for users.

Lastly, Andrea Bryan spoke about Bell's plans concerning the development of innovative aircrafts, such as V-280, and also about the possibility for Romania to become, one day, a customer for V-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing tilt-rotor aircraft.

 

We are presenting you the entire content of the interview:

Reporter: I would like to ask you to make a brief presentation of Bell’s projects and investment plans in Romania? What are the opportunities and problems of the local aerospace industry?

Andrea Bryan: Romania expressed interest in the Bell H1 team, which is the Bell AH-1Z Viper and the UH-1Y Venom. Romania has completed the first step with the US government and submitted a letter of requests for price and availability, which has been answered back in 2017, and we are hoping that our next step will be a letter of request for a letter of offer and acceptance. As part of our project and the program here in Romania, we intend to partner with Romanian industry for assembly of the aircraft in country and we are also seeking for other opportunities here as well.

Reporter: What are Bell’s main competitors in Romania, as well as in the region? What sets Bell apart from competition?

Andrea Bryan: I can't really speak to what exactly the Romanian government will include as part of their considerations. Compared to most competitors around the globe what Bell has to offer is a purpose-built military aircraft. So, these aircraft were built for the rigors of combat, to get people in and out of harm's way, they are fully integrated with avionics and the weapons systems. And the other thing that we bring to the table is a robust industrial cooperation package, that we have been in long-term discussions with for the Romanian government and Romanian industry. The other big benefit is the commonality between the two platforms, between the Bell AH-1Z and the UH-1Y. Those two aircraft are 85% common and over the life of the program that translates to much lower lifecycle costs because you have common spares, support equipment, also common training, you can actually dual train your maintainers and your pilots on both aircraft. So, for countries such as Romania, with smaller military forces, much like the United States Marine Corps, and on the US side are a much smaller force, of course that translates very well for countries like that, because the commonality is so important.

Reporter: Are other countries in the region interested in acquiring Bell helicopters?

Andrea Bryan: We have a number of interested customers, both in Europe and in the region, as well as other regions around the globe.

Reporter: What are the prospects of a joint military acquisition program for helicopters which would involve other countries in the region? Maybe including a joint regional maintenance center?

Andrea Bryan: I think those are all opportunities up for discussion, if there are other countries that are interested in a joint procurement, that would be for those two governments to decide, because this is a government-to-government transaction as part of the foreign military sales process. And our project here in Romania, for assembly of the aircraft and also the long-term maintenance that would come with that, for us is a stepping-stone into other future collaborations that might occur.

Reporter: Which is the negotiations status between Romania and Bell company for the acquisition of attack and utility helicopters?

Andrea Bryan: The next step would be a letter of requests for a letter of offer and acceptance submitted to the United States government for the purchase of the aircraft.

Reporter: Did Bell representatives had any recent discussions with Romanian officials on this topic?

Andrea Bryan: We continue to regularly come in and meet with government and military officials to talk about the acquisition of the aircraft.

Reporter: What is your opinion about the aviation role in future conflicts?

Andrea Bryan: So, I think that aviation will always be a part of any conflict, there's a lot of capability across rotorcraft platforms and fixed-wing platforms, it's always going to be a part of that. For Bell, we continue to take steps into our future developments, with aircraft like the V-280 Valor, which is our next-generation tiltrotor. You're probably familiar with the V-22 Osprey, also operated by the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force, and we have other countries that are also interested in that platform; and then also, as the V-280 becomes more and more a reality, we actually have a prototype currently flying and it is performing very well. So, I do believe that aviation is always going to be a part of military forces across the globe.

 

Reporter: Speaking of (V-22) Osprey, could Romania be a potential client for this kind of aircraft?

Andrea Bryan: Absolutely!

Reporter: Did you see any signs of interest coming from the Romanian part?

Andrea Bryan: Not yet, but that can be something that we can discuss in the future.

(Interview by Mircea Olteanu)

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