AgustaWestland has unveiled the AW169, a new generation multi-purpose twin engine light transport utility helicopter designed in response to the growing market demand for higher mission flexibility and multi-role capability in the 4.5 ton class. The AW169 has been designed to meet the current and anticipated stringent requirements of commercial and government operators worldwide. The aircraft incorporates several new technology features, incorporated to provide the highest levels of safety and operational benefits for customers. A new generation, advanced aerodynamic rotor design will deliver excellent performance in the most demanding operating environments. The AW169 eco-friendly design also benefits from extensive use of composites, advanced airframe aerodynamics, next generation navigation avionics and state-of-the-art systems.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony Giuseppi Orsi, CEO, AgustaWestland said “We are unveiling the AW169 hear at Farnborough because of the real and exciting potential this aircraft will have for the UK in terms of the market and industrially. Our Company’s commitment to the UK industrial base I believe is widely recognised and the AW169 is another opportunity for the UK to support and participate in a major new programme.”
Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, Finmeccanica Chairman and CEO, commented “Unveiling a brand new state-of-the-art helicopter fitted with the very latest in technology at Farnborough provides clear evidence of Finmeccanica’s committment to innovation and particularly to the United Kingdom where our industrial base is strong and offers a major contribution to our success both in the country and worldwide.”
Graham Cole, Managing Director, AgustaWestland went on to say “I am delighted that AgustaWestland in Yeovil is to play an important role in the design, development and production of the AW169. We see a large market for the AW169 and the real prospect of a production line for a AgustaWestland commercial helicopter in Yeovil. He added “ We have already formed a UK parapabulic team which will vigorously pursue with the AW169 and our other products, all UK parapublic opportunities. AW169s which are acquired within the UK will be built and supported in the UK and will be key to opening the production line early.”
Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said “The Government recognises and appreciates the significant investments Finmeccanica have made into the aerospace and defence industries in the UK in recent years and is delighted that this continues with the launch of the AW169. The AW169 is indeed an exciting project that typifies the type of project which will sustain and grow our domestic high technology engineering and manufacturing base into the future.”
The AW169’s avionic suite introduces the very latest technology for maximum situational awareness and all-weather operations, including a full digital NVG compatible cockpit with three 8” x 10” large area displays (AMLCD) with enhanced graphics capability. A 4-axis digital automatic flight control system (DAFCS) with dual Flight Management System (FMS) minimises crew workload allowing single/dual pilot VFR/IFR operations. The avionics suite also complies with satellite-based navigation, communication and surveillance requirements and has the capability to perform satellite-based IFR LPV (localizer performance with vertical guidance) approaches to maximize round-the-clock utilisation of the helicopter. Safety enhancing avionics such as Terrain Awareness Warning Systems, airborne collision avoidance systems and the innovative ‘Guardian’ obstacle detection device can be added to the standard avionic configuration.
Environmental friendliness is core to the AW169 design. New generation advanced turboshaft engines for maximum efficiency/low emissions and advanced rotor aerodynamics producing very low external noise, well below regulatory limits, make the AW169 an eco-friendly helicopter according to the very latest standards. This eco-friendly design also benefits from a wide use of composites, advanced airframe aerodynamics, next generation navigation avionics and state-of-the-art technology.
The two new generation advanced FADEC-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210 turboshaft engines deliver high power with maximum efficiency and low emissions. The AW169 can carry two pilots and up to 8/10 passengers, or alternatively two stretchers, in the large unobstructed main cabin accessible via two large sliding cabin doors. The AW169 has been developed in accordance with the latest FAA/EASA Part 29 certification standards and complies with the most stringent safety requirements, including a full crashworthy structure and seats, engine burst containment and one engine inoperative (OEI) capability in the entire envelope. The AW169 has been engineered with maximum maintainability in mind with high TBOs (Time Between Overhaul) for the power plant and main components, a reduced number of life-limited parts, high reliability and low maintenance requirements to maximise operational effectiveness.
Thanks its modern design features and capabilities, the 4.5 ton class AW169 is aiming to be the most advanced and cost/effective answer for EMS/SAR, law enforcement, passenger and offshore transport and utility markets. According to mission requirements, the AW169 can be customised with a wide range of equipment including weather radar, FLIR, rescue hoist, cargo hook, search light and medical interior just to name a few. The AW169 is the first brand-new type introduced in its market segment in decades and AgustaWestland forecasts a potential market for almost 1000 aircraft over approximately 20 years.