Bell Textron has completed the delivery of six 505 Jet Ranger X helicopters to the Jamaica Defence Force’s (JDF’s) Air Wing, which will use the fleet to support public safety and training operations.
Announcing the final delivery on May 11, the manufacturer also noted that this sixth JDF example was also the 300th Bell 505 to be delivered to a customer. Their arrival came remarkably quickly, as the order had only been announced by Bell on February 8, 2021.
Four of the new helicopters – comprising serials JDF H-46, JDF H-47, JDF H-48 and JDF H-49 – are painted in a largely white colour scheme with yellow trim. The remaining two – serials JDF H-50 and JDF H-51 – wear an overall dark green camouflage scheme.
Lt Col Brian Lundy, commanding officer of the JDF Air Wing, said: “We are proud to take delivery of the 300th Bell 505 and expand our fleet capabilities. [The] JDF and Bell have a strong history together and today’s delivery marks another milestone in our relationship.”
The JDF’s sixth Bell 505 will support public safety missions in service of the citizens of Jamaica. It will be operated by the force’s Caribbean Military Aviation School (CMAS), where it will also help to train the international rotorcraft pilots of tomorrow.
The Jet Ranger X’s similarities with the Bell 429 GlobalRanger allows for a smooth pilot transition as the JDF begins training operations with the new type. Bell’s 505 is fitted with a Garmin G1000 all-glass avionics suite, which helps to reduce pilot workload. This system shares similar avionics with Jamaica’s fleet of Diamond DA40-FP Star fixed-wing trainer aircraft.
The latest Bell 505 advancements include the Garmin’s G1000H NXi avionics suite and Flight Stream wireless connectivity gateway. It also comes with an autopilot system; a lightweight interior for emergency medical service use; an LHS baggage door and moveable ballast, along with Pulselite lighting systems and Bell’s public safety configuration.
In 1963, the JDF launched operations with two Bell 47G light helicopters. The force has further expanded its fleet and relationship with Bell in the years since. This new aircraft delivery will grow the JDF’s current fleet to ten Bell-produced helicopters, which are used to conduct search and rescue, medical evacuation, natural disaster relief, national security and military training operations.