AgustaWestland appointed former Bell CEO John Murphey to run Agusta-WestlandBell (AWB), the joint-venture company formed to manage the US-101 helicopter program. The US-101 and Sikorsky S-92 are the two finalists in the competition to replace the current fleet of Marine One helicopters that carry the President.
“John is one of the most senior and highly respected American executives in the industry,” said Amedeo Caporaletti, CEO of AgustaWestland. “His appointment clearly shows the strategic importance of this American company in the overall US-101 program.”
As licensee of US-101 intellectual property, AWB will have overall responsibility for the helicopter design, configuration management and support. The US-101 will be manufactured and assembled by Bell Helicopter and then sent to Lockheed Martin for systems integration. The joint venture will also have responsibility for transfer of production and procurement operations from the current supply base in Europe to the U.S., as well as enlarging the already significant American supply base.
Final assembly of the US-101 will be at the new Bell facility in Amarillo, Texas, with additional work on survivability enhancements taking place at its Fort Worth site. Nearly 200 companies from 41 states will contribute to the program. The Marine Corps is expected to award the contract, which will likely yield an order for 23 helicopters, by the end of the year.