In late August, the Russian Helicopters holding company and AgustaWestland of Italy singed an agreement to jointly develop, manufacture and market a new 2.5-ton class single-engine helicopter. This is a heads of agreement, with the final version to be signed by November 2013.
"We are moving on to the next stage in designing and developing the program. The technical and market assessment to be completed shortly should allow us to lay the groundwork for a modern, effective and efficient helicopter that would be highly competitive on the global market," points out Daniele Romiti, current CEO of AgustaWestland.
The technical specifications and commercial prospects of the new design should be finalized within the next few months. The representatives of Russian Helicopters say the first details about the new rotorcraft can be revealed by the end of the year. This helicopter will be developed on a 50/50 basis, with provisions made for a wide range of roles and a worldwide market.
The project intentions were first announced at Farnborough Airshow 2012. AgustaWestland top managers said at the time that the joint design would be developed from scratch and would have nothing in common with the AW119 Koala, the Italian manufacturer’s current 2.5-ton product. For Russia, the project will be a step towards penetrating into the light single-engine rotorcraft segment, where Russian manufacturers are currently losing to foreign competition.
As reported earlier, the dedicated project team was set up in June. The project is currently going through the prototyping stage. EASA certification is targeted for late 2016. Production is likely to be assigned to the Tomilino facility outside Moscow, a joint venture between AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters, which currently assembles AW139s for Russian and CIS markets. One of these AW139s is displayed at JetExpo 2013.