AgustaWestland is acquiring Bell Helicopter’s 25-percent interest in the AB139 twin-turbine helicopter and increasing its stake in the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor. Consolidating the ownership of the AB139 will provide “increased sales and improved customer support,” according to AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppi Orsi. Bell Helicopter and AgustaWestland remain partners on the Model 412 and the U.S. Presidential fleet of US-101s.
The Republic of Korea agreed to buy three S-92s to fulfill its presidential mission. Sikorsky will deliver them in a VIP configuration beginning in 2007. The Korean Ministry of National Defense selected the helicopter over the AgustaWestland EH-101, which will carry the U.S. President.
AgustaWestland (Booth No. 1141) and its parent company, Finmeccanica, have formed a joint venture with a Libyan entity to modernize that country’s helicopter and aircraft fleets and to potentially build export helicopters for the African market.
If sales are the standard by which the success of an aviation trade show is measured, Heli-Expo 2006 will go down as an unqualified triumph, with announced helicopter sales contracts tallying more than $620 million among all the major manufacturers.
Having assumed total responsibility for the AB139, how do you plan to deal with the growing backlog of orders?
At the AgustaWestland breakfast yesterday, company president Giuseppe Orsi emphasized the continued integration of the two companies– Agusta and Westland–and the importance of a single corporate face in the marketplace. Both owned by Finmeccanica, the two were officially merged into a single unit in 2000, but full integration of resources has been slow to develop.
Sasemar, the Spanish Marine Safety Agency, is the fifth government customer to order AgustaWestland’s AW139 medium-twin helicopter in search-and-rescue (SAR) configuration, like the one shown here. Sasemar has contracted for three, following previous orders by the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Ireland and most recently Estonia.
In the wake of buying out Bell’s 25-percent stake in the AB139 medium-twin helicopter, AgustaWestland has rebranded the fast-selling model as the AW139. AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi told HAI Convention News that “the helicopter’s success was part of the reasoning behind our decision to realign Bell/Agusta Aerospace. We also wanted to consolidate the company’s industrial presence in the U.S.
As part of a modernization program for its helicopter fleet, AgustaWestland will supply four A109 Powers to Japan’s National Police Agency. Earlier this year, three A109 Powers and an AW139 were delivered to the same organization. This order will bring the total number of A109s in service with the Japanese Police to 11, and the OEM says that the figure is set to “grow significantly” over the coming years.