While developing the reengined Model 222 as the 230, Bell began preliminary design work on a stretched derivative with a four-bladed main rotor in 1991. The Bell 430 was formally launched in February 1992, with two prototypes being modified from Bell 230s. The first of these flew in its new configuration on October 25, 1994, and the second prototype, featuring the full 430 avionics suite, first flew on December 19, 1994.
Production of the Bell 230 ended in August 1995, with the first 430 production aircraft being completed that year. Canadian certification was awarded on February 23, 1996. Deliveries began in mid-1996.
On January 24, 2008, Bell announced plans to terminate production of its Model 430 after current order commitments are fulfilled in 2010.
Production ended after 136 helicopters were completed, with the last being delivered in May 2008.
The Bell 430 features several significant improvements over the 230, the most significant of these being the new four-blade, bearingless, hingeless, composite main rotor. Although both the 230 and 430 are powered by Rolls-Royce (Allison) 250 turboshaft engines, the 430's engines are 10% more powerful. Other changes include the 1 ft 6 in (46 cm) stretched fuselage, providing for two extra seats, an optional EFIS flight deck, and a choice of either skids or retractable wheeled undercarriage.
The typical configuration seats ten, including a pilot and co-pilot with eight passengers in the main cabin behind them in three rows of seats. Six- and eight-place executive layouts are offered. In an EMS role it can carry one or two stretcher patients with four or three medical attendants, respectively. Maximum external load capacity is 3,500 lb (1,585 kg).
Cruise speed: 243 km/h
Total range: 654 km
Width: 2,80 m
Length: 13,42 m
Height: 3,45 m
Length: 2.46 m
Width: 1.55 m
Height: 1.30 m
Passengers: up to 8
Baggage capacity: 1.10 cubic m