AgustaWestland is purchasing full ownership of the BA609 civil tiltrotor program from Bell Helicopter. AW’s new CEO, Bruno Spagnolini, and Bell CEO John Garrison announced the deal at the Paris Air Show on June 21. Under the proposed agreement, subject to regulatory approval, Bell will continue to provide engineering, program management services, and key component manufacture on the 609. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
AgustaWestland is buying out Bell’s stake in the BA609 civil tiltrotor program from Bell Helicopters. Financial terms of the deal, announced by AgustaWestland’s new CEO Bruno Spagnolini and Bell CEO John Garrison here at the Paris Air Show yesterday, were not disclosed.
The cost of operating the Bell-Boeing V-22 Tiltrotor has been significantly reduced in the past year, according to U.S. Marine Col. Greg Masiello, V-22 Joint Program Office manager at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
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.”
Despite relatively flat year-over-year commercial sales, Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison said the company could easily fund a new, clean-sheet-of-paper commercial helicopter program.
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 FAA, EASA and Transport Canada approved Goodrich's rotor-blade ice-protection system (Rips) for the AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin, the Charlotte, N.C.-based aircraft systems supplier announced yesterday. Rips is a key part of the full ice-protection system and bestows all-weather capability on the AW139, making it the first helicopter in its category certified for flight into known-icing conditions.
Boeing's controversial embrace of the AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter for the revived U.S. presidential helicopter requirement could lead to more partnerships with AgustaWestland parent company Finmeccanica. Dennis Muilenberg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said that C4ISR-cyber security, information technology and services-are other areas of potential collaboration.
AgustaWestland (AW) is still in the hunt for the U.S. VXX Presidential helicopter replacement program, commonly known as Marine One. “I can confirm we will be competing for the VXX program. We strongly believe the [AW-] 101 is the best helicopter to meet this requirement,” an AW spokesman told AIN. The chairman of AW’s parent company, Finmeccanica, suggested that AW was in talks with Boeing and L-3 to partner on the contract.
Pentagon and Bell-Boeing officials have countered media reports that the V-22 Osprey has performed poorly in deployment. During a briefing at the recent Navy League Sea Air Space convention in Washington, D.C., they admitted to some serviceability problems, but insisted that the tiltrotor has met all its assigned operational tasks.