The Anglo-Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland is planning to develop a new helicopter jointly with the Russian Helicopters holding company. Under a preliminary framework agreement signed at this summer’s Farnborough Air Show, the partners are going to develop, manufacture and market a new 2.5-ton MTOW multirole single-engine aircraft on a parity basis. Detailed information about the distribution of roles on the program will be made public at a later date.
AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini says the helicopter will be a completely new model and will have nothing to do with the 2.5-tom AW119 Koala the company markets at present. He did not specify the timeframe for the maiden flight, saying only that it would take place as soon as feasible.
The new model, which is expected to be marketed internationally, will be manufactured in Russia. "Our joint venture with Russian Helicopters has enough room for the assembly of this helicopter," Spagnolini noted.
AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters set up the HeliVert JV in 2010 for the purpose of assembling AW139 helicopters at the two companies’ joint production facility plant in Tomilino outside Moscow. Spagnolini told Show Observer that HeliVert would deliver the first two Russian-built AW139s by the end of the year. In 2013 the facility is expected to assemble between seven and 10 airframes, eventually reaching the design annual output rate of 20 airframes by 2015. Russian-assembled AW139s will be sold in Russia and the CIS.