AW unwraps its newest 109 Grand

 - February 21, 2010, 4:54 PM

To the accompaniment of multicolored lights and music, AgustaWestland unveiled its new AW109 Grand New here yesterday. According to AgustaWestland head of marketing Roberto Garavaglia, the helicopter is a “step change” follow-on to the popular AW109S Grand.

The Grand New is already certified by EASA, and FAA approval is expected in the next several weeks. The new model uses the same Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207C turbine as its predecessor.

Noting that a “Da Vinci” special variant of the Grand New for Swiss Air-Rescue Rega has already been delivered, Garavaglia emphasized the demand for versatility in today’s depressed market and pointed out seven distinct Grand New configurations.

In its mountain search-and-rescue guise, the Grand New can hover at 14,500 feet. As an offshore vehicle, it provides room for six passengers and one pilot, all in forward-facing crashworthy seats, and has a range of 200 nm at 2,000 feet and a high-speed cruise of 140 knots. Its max gross weight is 7,000 pounds.

The new model’s all-digital cockpit has no “steam gauge” instruments and includes four Cobham Avionics displays with synthetic-vision system, highway-in-the-sky, HTAWS and FMS. The Grand New also has a health and usage monitoring system and a helicopter emergency egress lighting system.

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, already has orders for 20 Grand New helicopters in various configurations. According to a source, AgustaWestland sold three Grand New helicopters yesterday. With five AW139 and two AW119 sales, also yesterday, the total value of all AgustaWestland helicopters sold at Heli-Expo thus far is in the $87 million range.

Asked if this is the last of the AW109 line, Garavaglia chuckled. “We said it is the latest, not the last.”