Commercial helicopter deliveries and revenue increased at Bell in the second quarter but profit slipped because of research and development costs associated with its offerings for the Army’s Future Vertical Lift programs, parent company Textron reported on Thursday. The Fort Worth, Texas-based OEM delivered 47 helicopters in the quarter, up from 27 in the same period last year, with “strong demand” and “solid order activity” from domestic and international corporate, private, utility, and EMS operators, said Textron president and CEO Scott Donnelly during an earnings call with analysts.
Revenue for the quarter was $891 million, a $69 million increase from the year-ago quarter. The gain was driven by higher commercial revenue of $99 million, which partially offset lower military revenue. Profit of $110 million was down $8 million during the same period, largely because of research and development costs for Bell’s 360 Invictus and V-280 Valor offerings for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competitions, respectively. For the first half, Bell's profit was $251 million on revenue of $1.737 billion, compared with $233 million in profit on revenue of $1.645 billion in the same period a year ago.
Donnelly noted that Bell has retired its V-280 demonstrator after completing 214 flight test hours over the past three years. “Over this three-year period, the Valor successfully demonstrated all key performance parameters with the FLRAA program, including low-speed agility, long-range crews, 350-ktas high-speed flights, autonomous flight, and rapid mission systems integration,” he said. Bell is about 45 percent of the way through the manufacture of an Invictus prototype, Donnelly added.