AgustaWestland will open a second production line for the new AW169 medium-twin helicopter at its manufacturing facility in Philadelphia, the company announced today. The primary production line for the AW169 will remain at the company’s plant in Vergiate, Italy. Four examples of the 9,000-pound class helicopter are currently in flight-test, with certification expected next year.
According to AgustaWestland, the Philadelphia plant will deliver its first AW169 in 2015 and eventually ramp up production to 20 aircraft per year by 2017. The helicopter manufacturer currently holds orders for 80 AW169s from 38 customers in 16 countries. AgustaWestland’s new medium-twin helicopter, powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210As, is expected to be comparably priced to the new $10- to $12 million Sikorsky S-76D.
The company’s Philadelphia plant has grown rapidly since 2005, when it employed 160 and delivered 23 helicopters. Last year, AgustaWestland’s U.S. facility produced and delivered 48 helicopters and employed 560. During this period, revenues at Philadelphia grew by $500 million, to $717 million, about 18 percent of the company’s total revenues. AgustaWestland’s Philadelphia plant currently manufactures the AW119 and AW139 and shipped 12 and 36 of these helicopters, respectively, last year.