Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with Brazilian aircraft company Embraer to establish a joint venture to manufacture AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
In a joint statement, the companies said they expect to form the joint venture following regulatory approval within the next few months and that the new company will pursue the offshore oil and gas, military and executive markets. An AgustaWestland spokesman told AIN that it is likely the joint-venture company will initially focus on manufacture of AgustaWestland medium twins, including the AW139, AW149 and AW189, “to meet several market requirements for both commercial and military applications.”
He said the exact location of the joint venture’s manufacturing facility will be revealed when the final agreement is signed. “This should be reasonably quick,” he added.
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.