Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland signed a memorandum of understanding in late January to establish a joint venture with Brazilian aircraft company Embraer. The plans calls for the two companies to manufacture AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
The move is seen as potentially a major assault on Eurocopter’s majority share of the Brazilian civil, parapublic and military markets. Eurocopter has operated its Helibras subsidiary in Brazil since 1978.
In a joint statement, the companies said they expect to form the joint venture following regulatory approval within a few months after signing of the MOU and that the new company would pursue the offshore oil and gas, military and executive markets.
An AgustaWestland spokesman told AIN that it is likely the joint-venture company would initially focus on manufacture of AgustaWestland medium twins, including the AW139, 149 and 189 models “to meet several market requirements for both commercial and military applications.”