Bell Helicopter Textron has high hopes that three aircraft making their Dubai Air Show debuts–the Bell 407AH and 429, and Bell Boeing V-22 tiltrotor–will soon find permanent homes in the Middle East.
AgustaWestland’s new CEO, Bruno Spagnolini, ensured that his company made a big splash at this year’s Paris Air Show, announcing a new helicopter, new joint ventures, plans to increase product support and service and takeover of the languishing civil tiltrotor program from development partner Bell Helicopter.
At this year’s Heli-Expo, Bell CEO John Garrison was adamant that the company could afford a new civil helicopter program. “Capital-wise we have the ability to invest in new platform development. That is not a constraint. We just have to pick and choose,” Garrison said, declining to identify the market sectors Bell was considering. “The business has the ability to fund it.”
AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppi Orsi had reason to smile at Saturday night’s press conference, pointing out that the Milan-based manufacturer delivered 111 commercial helicopters in 2010 and the commercial order book showed an increase of 56 percent when compared with 2009.
The European Commission ruled that AgustaWestland must repay a €25 million military subsidy it received from the Italian government in 1998 for the AW139 medium helicopter and BA609 tiltrotor programs as they are civil, not military, aircraft.
The U.S. National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform drafted a recommendation for large reductions in U.S. military spending in an effort to save $200 billion. The document suggests ending procurement of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor and slashing the planned buy of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
The Clean Sky joint technology initiative, a e1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) private-public partnership on aeronautical research in Europe, has issued its third call for proposals. Working toward the development of a green rotorcraft, the consortium is focusing on engines, aerodynamics and tiltrotors.
Bell Helicopter’s new CEO, John Garrison, is expecting 2010 to be a flat year in terms of civil deliveries, but he said he sees significant growth on the military side, thanks to a production ramp-up for the V-22 tiltrotor and the H-1. Military revenues should jump by 15 percent, he added. Bell is here on Stand Q01 and on the static display with the new Bell 429 light twin, which is touring Asia.
Russian manufacturers Kamov and Mil are developing advanced high-speed helicopter (AHSH) designs with the goal of creating a helicopter that flies as fast as