The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has signed a contract with Bell Textron for the delivery of six Bell 505 helicopters.
According to a company announcement, the newly acquired Bell 505s will be configured to support public safety missions in country and be used by the Force’s Caribbean Military Aviation School (CMAS) to train international rotorcraft pilots.
“Bell and JDF share a rich history of more than 55 years, and we are committed to delivering the most advanced and economically viable aircraft on the market,” said Nicholas Peffer, Managing Director, Latin America.
In 1963, JDF began its operations with two Bell 47G aircraft and has expanded their fleet and relationship with Bell throughout the years. This new aircraft delivery will grow JDF’s current fleet to 10 Bell helicopters, which serve in search and rescue missions, medical evacuations, natural disaster relief, national security and military training operations.
“Expanding our Bell fleet to incorporate the Bell 505 adds more versatility to our capability portfolio and supports our mission to protect and serve the citizens of Jamaica,” said Lt. Col. Brian Lundy, commanding officer of the Air Wing, JDF. “Our team of pilots and maintenance technicians are extremely happy with the training, support and customer service from Bell.”
The Jamaican contract award follows Bell’s delivery of the first Bell 505 to the Montenegro Air Force in September 2020.
The helicopter is the company’s newest five-seat aircraft with a speed of 125 knots (232 km/h) and useful load of 1,500 pounds (680 kg). Its similarities with the Bell 429 platform will allow for a smooth pilot transition as JDF begins training operations, the company said. With a Garmin G1000, the platform shares similar avionics with JDF’s fixed wing trainer aircraft.