MIRABEL, Quebec, May 13 (UPI) -- The Canadian government has contracted Bell Helicopter to produce 15 light-lift aircraft for the country's Coast Guard.
The award, worth nearly $158 million, was announced by Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea and Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs Denis Lebel.
"Renewing the Canadian Coast Guard fleet of helicopters will improve the Coast Guard's air support capability from coast to coast and in Canada's North," Shea said. "Our government has invested more in the Coast Guard than any other government in Canadian history, ensuring its men and women have the equipment they need to perform the important work we ask of them."
Under the contract, Bell will supply the Coast Guard with 15 of its model 429 helicopters, which have a cruise speed of 178 mph and a range of 449 miles.
The first helicopter will be delivered in May of next year. One helicopter a month is expected to be delivered after that.
Bell Helicopter is headquartered in the United States but has an aircraft manufacturing plant in the province of Quebec in Canada.
Canada says the contract given to Bell will stimulate economic growth and create Canadian jobs.
"The aerospace industry is important to Quebec's economy," said Lebel. "I am proud to see that once again, Quebec workers are benefiting from our government's investments in the renewal of our Canadian Coast Guard fleet.
"This contract will support the growing aerospace industry in Quebec. It will attract a skilled and youthful workforce to the area and drives economic prosperity."