AgustaWestland unveils new-generation chopper at Farnborough

July 21st, 2010 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Farnborough, July 21 (IANS) AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, has unveiled a new generation multi-purpose twin-engine light transport helicopter that it says be used in India’s homeland security.
“We have been successful in India. I am sure there will be a market in India,” AgustaWestland communications manager Geoff Russell told IANS of the AW169 that was unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow.

“We are initially looking at the commercial market but the helicopter also has military applications and can be used by the law enforcement agencies and the Coast Guard, as also by air ambulance services,” he added.

The AW169, Russell said has been “designed in response to the growing market demand for higher mission flexibility and multi-role capability in the 4.5 tonne class”.

“The AW169 has been designed to meet the current and anticipated stringent requirements of commercial and government operators worldwide,” he added.

The aircraft incorporates several new technology features, incorporated to provide the highest levels of safety and operational benefits for customers, a company statement said.

“A new generation, advanced aerodynamic rotor design will deliver excellent performance in the most demanding operating environments. The AW169’s eco-friendly design also benefits from extensive use of composites, advanced airframe aerodynamics, next generation navigation avionics and state-of-the-art systems,” the statement added.

The AW169’s avionic suite introduces the very latest technology for maximum situational awareness and all-weather operations, including a full digital NVG (night vision goggles) compatible cockpit with three 8″x10″ large area displays with enhanced graphics capability.

The helicopter, which can carry eight to 10 passengers or loads of 4.5 tonnes, permits single/dual pilot operations.

“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,” the company said.

AgustaWestland is already in a joint venture with India’s Tata Sons for establishing in India a final assembly line for the AW119 helicopter for the worldwide market.

The agreement was signed in New Delhi in February by AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi and Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata.

The joint venture company will be responsible for the AW119’s final assembly, completion and delivery while AgustaWestland will retain responsibility for worldwide marketing and sales. The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered from the new facility at Hyderabad in 2011 with production forecast to rise to 30 aircraft per year to meet worldwide demand.

“It gives us great pleasure to have achieved this important agreement with such a leading industrial partner in India,” Orsi had said at the signing.

“The establishment of the joint venture will provide extraordinary industrial opportunities both in the country and worldwide through the synergies generated by AgustaWestland and Tata Sons capitalising upon the depth of their respective resources.

“We are committed to enabling Tata Sons to play an increasing role as an aerospace enterprise and to jointly exploiting future prospects in the growing Indian helicopter market,” Orsi added.

It is envisaged, a statement said, that the joint venture company would be a supplier for the current reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH) programme of the Indian armed forces.

“Additionally, AgustaWestland and Tata Sons are exploring further commercial, technical and industrial collaboration opportunities in the rotorcraft industry to strengthen their strategic relationship,” the statement added.

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