AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Bell Textron Inc. announced that it has signed a contract with the U.S. Government to build the AH-1Z Flight Training Device (FTD) for the Czech Republic’s new helicopter fleet, which will aid in integrating new H-1 helicopters into the Czech Air Force.

According to Bell, the FTD device will be used “for simulation and training purposes for prospective pilots of combined AH-1Z and UH-1y fleet.” Bell added that the new contract will ensure the presence of Bell’s expertise throughout the Czech Air Force’s helicopter program.

“The Flight Training Device will provide Czech operators with the perfect tools for familiarizing themselves with their new H-1 helicopters,” says Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. “The FTD for the Czech Air Force will ensure training activities progress smoothly in line with the delivery of the aircraft themselves.”

FlightSafety International and VR Group where selected as subcontractors by Bell, with FlightSafety International “providing hardware and software products for simulation training, including the visual display system and control loading system,” Bell stated.

“FlightSafety is proud to continue the long-standing collaboration with Bell supporting the H-1 program,” said Michael Vercio, senior vice president of simulation systems at FlightSafety. “The Czech Flight Training Device gives us another opportunity to provide a world-class training solution to a new set of pilots.”

VR Group, a Czech company, has knowledge in simulation technologies and “will provide some moving models for the visual database system for the Czech H-1 FTD,” according to Bell.  

“Working with Bell on the delivery and maintenance of the Flight Training Device for the Czech Republic’s new helicopter fleet opens up the possibility for us to further strengthen our leading long-term role in the country’s Air Force simulation capabilities,” said Ivo Gamba, VR Group technical director.

“As one of the Czech Republic’s leading providers of defense training solutions, we are extremely excited to play our part in providing the FTD in cooperation with the team at Bell. Our local expertise creates a device of great benefit to Czech helicopter operatives,” concluded Gamba.

Bell Amarillo Assembly Center has received the first UH-1Y cabin for the Czech fleet and has stated that the company is on schedule for the Czech Republic’s H-1 helicopter fleet. In addition, Bell explained that production and delivery of the Czech Republic aircraft will be complete by 2023.