Mexico Ordering Bell 412EPs
Bell’s 412 series helicopters represent the latest evolution of its famed “Huey” design that can be sold to civilians. Militarily, it lags behind the newer UH-1Y, which is just entering service with the USMC. The 412 family was available far earlier, however, and remains a commercial and military success. These twin-engine utility helicopters are easily identifiable by their 4-bladed composite rotors, and serve with a wide array of military, government, and civilian operators around the world. Over 700 have been produced.
Bell 412EP (“enhanced performance”) helicopters are being sold to the Mexican Air Force (FAM). Mexico will use them to fight drug traffickers, gangs, and other criminal activities in its ongoing “Cartel War,” which has already claimed thousands of lives. The helicopters can also provide support to Mexico’s civilian population during natural disasters. Events related to this purchase, and background resources regarding Mexico’s situation, include…
Contracts and Key Events
The US-Mexican Merida Initiative aid package reportedly includes 8 Bell 412EPs, to augment the 4 Bell 412s already in service with the FAM. They will join a number of twin-bladed Bell 212s, a handful of UH-60 Black Hawks, and the Mi-8/17 helicopters that currently make up the core of Mexico’s medium utility helicopter fleet. A smaller set of 6 EC725 Cougar medium lift helicopters were ordered in May 2009, to replace older Mi-8s.
Dec 8/09: The Mexican government takes delivery of the 5 helicopters during a ceremony at Fort Worth, TX. General de Grupo P.A. DEMA Adelaido de la Sancha Villa, Section Chief, Air Force Joint Chiefs of staff accepted delivery of the aircraft on behalf of the Mexican government.
Spare and repair parts, equipment, technical data, training and logistical support are included in the sale, which has an estimated total value of $93 million. DSCA on Facebook.
June 3/09: Bell Helicopter Textron in Hurst, TX received a $51.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for the purchase of 5 Bell 412EP helicopters, along with logistics support, spare parts, special tools, and training. According to a Bell Helicopter spokesman, these helicopters are a Foreign Military Sale to Mexico, per the March 13/09 DSCA notification.
Bell Helicopter Textron will perform the work in Fort Worth, TX (4%); Piney Flats, TN (8%); and Quebec, Canada (88%) with an estimated completion date of December 31/10. One bid was solicited with one received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract (W58RGZ-09-C-0173).
March 13/09: The USA’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Mexico’s official request for 5 Bell 412EP Helicopters, spare and repair parts, support equipment, ferry services, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, contractor engineering and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is up to $93 million.
- Bell Helicopter – Commercial aircraft: The 412
- Wikipedia – Bell 412. Includes military and civilian variants.
- Wikipedia – Merida Initiative
- DID (May 6/09) – Mexico Orders 6 EC725 Helicopters
- DID (April 9/09) – Persuader Patrol Planes for Mexico’s Maritime
- DID (March 11/09) – Mexico Orders $460M ‘Ciudad Segura’ System from Thales
- DID (Feb 18/09) – Mexico Adds More Israeli Surveillance Platforms
- Voice of America (March 26/09) – US Intelligence Chief: Mexico Will Not Become ‘Failed State’. The fact that Adm. Blair believed this needed to be said at all, speaks volumes about the stakes.
- Zenpundit (March 14/09) – A Mexican Standoff with Reality. Includes an excellent and diverse set of external sources, including in-depth reports and analyses.
- Strategy Page (Feb 16/09) – You Can’t Make This Stuff Up
- Forbes Magazine (Feb 2/09) – The Mexican Insurgency: Can the lessons of Iraq help win the war against the cartels?
- Washington Times (Dec 19/08) – Mexico’s Cartel War: Year Three
- small Wars Journal (August 2008) – State of Siege: Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency
- STRATFOR (May 14/08) – Mexico: Examining Cartel War Violence Through a Protective Intelligence Lens
- Strategy Page (Oct 10/07) – Leftist Rebels on a Rampage