Four new AW139s destined for Trinidad and Tobago are the latest in a series of U.S.-manufactured helicopters whose export loans are being backed by the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The Ex-Im reports guaranteeing through July more than $200 million in U.S. commercial helicopter export loans for aircraft destined for markets in the Americas and Asia. This represents a substantial increase over 2008 support levels, when the agency approved $123 million to underwrite exports of all U.S.-manufactured transportation equipment, including helicopters and light aircraft.
The AW139s will be manufactured at AgustaWestland’s Philadelphia plant and will be used by the Air Guard of Trinidad and Tobago for surveillance and reconnaissance missions related to search-and-rescue, border patrol and drug interdiction. Deliveries are scheduled in 2010 and 2011. The deal is part of a larger contract with the government of Trinidad and Tobago under which AgustaWestland will provide extensive mission support, training and logistics for helicopter operations for seven years.
Italy’s export credit agency, SACE, is providing minority financing that covers the helicopters’ foreign content as part of an $80 million deal. Last year the Ex-Im authorized $14.4 billion in financing to support an estimated $19.6 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.