CPI Aerostructures Inc., of Edgewood, has a new -- though small -- U.S. Department of Defense subcontract purchase order from Bell Helicopter to make structural panel assemblies for the AH-1Z ZULU attack helicopter.
The twin-engine ZULU "reached initial operational capability in September 2010 and was approved to begin full-rate production in December," CPI said.
This first order is for one of the helicopter’s six panels, plus charges for tooling and other onetime expenses, the company said.
Edward J. Fred, CPI Aero's president and chief executive, said, "We have worked hard to earn the Bell business and we are proud to now be a part of the Bell Helicopter supplier network. While the initial order requirement is small, we are hopeful that this will lead to more sizable orders as the aircraft transitions to full scale production."
U.S. Navy photo, above, shows the interior of the new AH-1Z full motion cockpit simulator at Camp Pendleton, Calif.