First Russian-built AW139 Flies

 - January 17, 2013, 3:25 PM

The first AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter assembled in Russia flew last month, Helivert, a joint venture between AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters, announced Tuesday. The 37-minute maiden sortie took place on December 19 at Russian Helicopters’ “National Helicopter Building Center” in Tomilino, near Moscow.

During the initial flight, the medium twin performed a controlled hover, completing “the scheduled tests approved by Russia’s aviation authorities.” A second aircraft is expected to fly by next month.

The Helivert factory in Tomilino is planning to assemble 15 to 20 AW139s per year. Its workforce will be up to 100 strong. AgustaWestland’s production agreement with Russian Helicopters, announced in 2008, calls for the plant to address the Russian and CIS markets. In the summer of 2011 the final agreements were signed on establishing the joint venture. Early last year, HeliVert employees underwent training at AgustaWestland in Italy.

Meanwhile, Russian Helicopters is developing the Ka-62, which is also in the 14,000-pound class. As of last month, the Anglo-Italian manufacturer had sold more than 670 AW139s.