Despite sharing a common model number with the 214 Huey Plus and Big Lifter (described separately), the Bell 214ST is a larger, much modified helicopter.
Bell's biggest helicopter yet was developed to meet an Iranian requirement for a larger transport helicopter with better performance in its hot and high environment than its 214 Isfahans. Bell based its proposal on the 214 but made substantial design changes, resulting in what is essentially an all new helicopter with little commonality with the smaller 214 series.
The 214ST features two General Electric CT7 turboshafts (the commercial equivalent of the military T700), a stretched fuselage seating up to 17 in the main cabin, glassfibre main rotor blades, and lubrication free elastomeric bearings in the main rotor hub. The ST suffix originally stood for Stretched Twin, reflecting the changes over the 214, but this was later changed to stand for Super Transporter.
The 214ST was to have been built under licence in Iran as part of that country's plans to establish a large army air wing (other aircraft ordered in large numbers under this plan were the 214A Isfahan and AH1J SeaCobra), but the Islamic revolution and fall of the Shah in 1979 put paid to these plans.
Undeterred, Bell continued development of the 214ST - which first flew in February 1977 - for civil and military customers. Three preproduction 214STs were built from 1978 and 100 production aircraft were built through to 1990.
Most 214ST sales were to military customers. Iraq was the 214ST's largest customer, taking delivery of 45 during 1987 and 1988, some most likely seeing service in the Gulf War.
Civil applications for the 214ST are numerous, including oil rig support, where its twin engine configuration and 17 passenger main cabin are useful assets.
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