Bell Helicopter expanding Amarillo facility

The new space will be used to assemble V-22 Ospreys for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Bell Helicopter (Ft. Worth, Texas), a Textron Inc. company, announced on Aug. 11 a major expansion of its Military Aircraft Assembly Center located at Amarillo, Texas, at Rick Husband International Airport. The expansion is prompted by a ramp-up in production of the H-1 helicopter program and the Bell Boeing V-22. The new space, 176,000 sq ft/16,350 sq m, brings the total size of the Bell facility to 1,095,000 sq ft/101,728 sq m.

The expansion, scheduled for completion in July 2009, is primarily driven by the Bell Boeing V-22 Multi-Year Production contract signed in March 2008.  This contract provides 167 aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command over a five-year period, with an annual option for adding up to five additional aircraft.  The new space allotted from the expansion provides room to build the additional aircraft.  

Bell executive vice president for Government Programs Bob Kenney noted, "In just a few short years we will go from manufacturing the 17 V-22s we'll deliver this year to over 40 Ospreys annually. The Marines have been flying their MV-22's in combat in Iraq for the past year. This plant expansion enables us to meet the urgent needs of our customers."