Bell Picks Lafayette For New JetRanger Production
Bell Helicopter has announced it will build its new Short Light Single helicopter at Lafayette Regional Airport in Louisiana. The SLS is a restart of the iconic JetRanger line, an updated five-seat turbine single that will include modern technology standard on bigger airframes. It's aimed at the utility, law enforcement and flight training sector and is seen as a strong export product. The project was announced at the Paris Air Show and Bell launched a competition for the manufacturing site.
Bell will spend $11.4 million in equipment and tooling and hire 115 people to build the new aircraft. Louisiana is paying for the hangar that will accommodate the factory. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said that in addition to the direct employment at the factory, there will be another 136 jobs created in support and supplier businesses in the Lafayette region. "Today’s announcement signals that Louisiana is ready to further expand its presence and leadership in the aerospace industry," Jindal said.