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Bell Eagle Eye UAV Selected for USCG Deepwater Program

Bell Eagle Eye UAV Selected for USCG Deepwater Program

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Fort Worth, Texas -- (Bell Helicopter Textron) February 8, 2003 -- Officials for Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS) have announced that the Bell Eagle Eye has been selected for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VUAV) portion of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater System contract.  The Coast Guard's Integrated Deepwater System is a critical multi-year program to modernize and replace aging ships and aircraft, and improve command and control and logistics systems.   Bell Helicopter is a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, who is a major contractor to ICGS.  Under this award, Bell Helicopter is scheduled to begin delivering the Bell Eagle Eye aircraft with a First Unit Equipped (FUE) date of 2006.  The total anticipated contract is valued at over $1 billion over the life of the program

“We are both pleased and proud to be selected for this program” said John Murphey, Chairman & CEO of Bell Helicopter.  He went on to add, “In today’s world protection of the U.S. shores has gained in focus and importance.  To have the opportunity to contribute to the U.S. Coast Guard’s ability to perform homeland defense, Search and Rescue (SAR) and other deepwater missions is an honor.”

The Bell Eagle Eye UAV system has been in development since the mid 1990’s.  In 1998 it completed a rigorous technology maturity test in Yuma, Arizona using Bell’s newly developed Tactical Control Station compatible Ground Control System (GCS).  The testing was completed ahead of schedule and met or exceeded the test objectives established by the government. Follow-on systems integration activities funded by the Navy until mid 2000 included integration and test of the Navy’s Unmanned Common Automated Recovery System (UCARS) which provides for precise positioning information as well as ship movement and integration of Bell’s Relative Inertial Velocity Mode which enables the air vehicle to automatically close with, track and land on a moving ship. 

Bell, a leader in Systems Integration developed the state-of-the-art, fully integrated redundant flight control system which boasts of highly automated flight control and built-in test software, as well as fully integrated surface mount circuitry.  “Our design simplicity, use of man-rated helicopter components / specifications, combined with our fully integrated redundant flight control system provides an order of magnitude improvement in performance, safety and reliability compared to standard UAV systems with single thread or non-integrated dual redundant flight control systems” said Charles H. Jacobus, Director of Advanced Technology Programs for Bell.  “To our knowledge, the system remains the only VTOL UAV system to fly over 50 hours in less than 90 days under government contract with a single air vehicle.”  The newest Bell Eagle Eye is an enhanced version of the earlier model that meets USCG as well as naval service mission requirements.

Using tiltrotor technology, the Bell Eagle Eye System also adds the dimension of speed flexibility to the usual UAV performance parameters.  With its rotors tilted forward it can cruise at speeds over 200 knots reducing time to get to an operational area, find moving targets 80-110 nautical miles away in minutes and be easily in-flight re-tasked for another mission.  Conversely, it can loiter over a target 100 nm away for four hours.  In the hover mode the Bell Eagle Eye can operate from confined spaces, launch and recover automatically from small ships. 

The Bell Eagle Eye offers the Coast Guard and other sea service users numerous performance capabilities simply not available in helicopter drones.

  • Specifications for the Bell Eagle Eye are as follows:

Wing Span


15.2 ft.



17.9 ft.

Rotor Diameter


9.5 ft

Mission Payload


200 lbs.



6+ hrs. with 200 lb. payload

Cruise Speed


200 kts+



20,000 ft.



P&W 200-55

  • Bell Helicopter Textron, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., is a $1.6 billion, leading producer of commercial and military helicopters, and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce of over 7,500 employees serves customers flying Bell aircraft in over 120 countries.

  •  Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) is an $11 billion multi-industry company with more than 49,000 employees in 40 countries. The company leverages its global network of businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services in industries such as aircraft, fastening systems, industrial products and components and finance. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others. More information is available at www.textron.com.

Forward-looking Information: Certain statements in this release and other oral and written statements made by Bell Helicopter or Textron from time to time are forward-looking statements, including those that discuss strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; or project revenues, income, returns or other financial measures. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the statements, including the following: government funding and program approvals affecting products being developed or sold under government programs

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).