AgustaWestland signed agreements at the Farnborough airshow with three key suppliers–Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems–for its AW609 civil tiltrotor program. These major agreements follow a trail of contracts signed with AW609 component suppliers since AgustaWestland acquired the tiltrotor program last November. The OEM expects to obtain FAA and EASA certification of the AW609 in the first half of 2016.
AgustaWestland (Pavilion OE1) is offering an increased-gross-weight version of its AW609 tiltrotor, which trades off some vertical takeoff capability for a higher payload limit. This will make it more attractive for some missions where vertical capabilities are not needed on departure.
The drive to find international customers for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor continues, prompting four U.S. Marine Corps MV-22s to make a transatlantic trip to fly displays and demonstrations here at Farnborough and at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at Fairford last weekend. Aircraft for export could easily be slotted into the expected second American multi-year buy, Col. Greg Masiello, joint V-22 program manager, U.S.
Program officials say the procurement objectives and operations of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey remain on track as the U.S. Navy investigates the latest crash of the tiltrotor.
Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison told AIN that his company deliberately opted to use proven technologies on its recently announced super-medium twin, the 525 Relentless.
Bell’s XworX has developed into a project-oriented, rapid prototyping shop charged with fashioning targeted solutions to specific aircraft initiatives.
Housed in a hangar at Arlington Airport, Texas, since 2004, XworX initially had the reputation in the industry as being concerned with esoteric and abstract future technologies, sort of a “department of mad scientists.”
John Garrison, CEO of Bell Helicopter (Booth No. 9846), said on Sunday he believed that 2011 was the market bottom for the civil helicopter sector and that Bell’s newly-announced 525 super-medium twin program would proceed regardless of whether the Pentagon ordered more V-22 Bell/Boeing tiltrotors after 2014.
Agusta Westland Tilt Rotor Co. (AWTR) flew an AW609 (née BA609) tiltrotor at Arlington Municipal Airport yesterday. The company also provided an update on the program, which comes in the aftermath of AgustaWestland’s taking over full ownership of the 609 project when former partner Bell Helicopter relinquished its half last November.
AgustaWestland established AWTR to complete certification and bring the AW609 to market, with its U.S. headquarters based at AWTR’s new office-hangar complex at the airport.
Just down the road from the Dallas Convention Center is the Arlington home of the long-awaited AW609 tiltrotor program. Following AgustaWestland’s move late last year to complete the full takeover of the program from former partner Bell Helicopters, the tiltrotor is a full-blown Italian now. While work on the program will continue in the Lone Star state, all roads lead not so much to Rome, as to Agusta’s headquarters at Cascina Costa, just north of Milan.
Circumstances are colliding that will have significant impact on new civil helicopter development programs for the remainder of the decade. In the West, new civil programs are typically the byproducts of defense spending. And when it comes to dropping defense dollars and euros on new manned helicopter programs, the party might not be over, but it is definitely winding down.
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