AgustaWestland last year invested 11 percent of its revenues in research and development. It is a co-leader (with Eurocopter) of the CleanSky Joint Technology Initiative, a major European research program, and is studying active blade control to reduce noise. Planned is ground testing of an active blade segment, then wind tunnel testing of a complete model and eventually flight-testing of such a new rotor.
AgustaWestland has announced that orders in the first half of this year have risen by 10 percent over the same period last year, to U1.62 billion ($2.5 billion). Meanwhile, the Anglo-Italian helicopter maker is creating a subsidiary company in Portugal, called AgustaWestland Portugal, to provide complete helicopter support services. Its first contract is to maintain the Portuguese Air Force’s 12 AW-101 transport helicopters.
In an apparent effort to assuage British pressure to adopt the Anglo-Italian EH-101 as the follow-on to the White House’s aged fleet of Sikorsky VH-3S operated as Marine One for Presidential transport, Sikorsky has quietly agreed to add some British content to the S-92s it would modify for that mission.
Florida is a land with a reputation for competitions with contested results, and that tradition continued at HAI’s 2002 edition of its annual trade show and convention as two major rotorcraft makers debated over who has global domination of the vertical-takeoff flying machine market, while a third major player announced its plans for getting back into the game.
AgustaWestland scored a big win last month with the sale of 12 new search-and-rescue (SAR)-configured EH 101 helicopters to the Portuguese government. In a deal valued at $313 million, Portugal voted to buy a fleet of the Anglo-Italian helicopters to replace its SAR fleet of Eurocopter Pumas. In winning the deal, AgustaWestland beat out an offer from Sikorsky for an equal number of its developing S-92 rotorcraft.
Jeppesen announced it has been selected to provide worldwide weather information and forecasts for use by subscribers of the Merlin airborne weather system in development by Dulles, Va.-based Satellink Technologies. Scheduled for availability this spring, Merlin will provide real-time weather to aircraft in flight, including high-resolution color weather charts and Notams supplied by Jeppesen.
Three teams bidding to take over the provision of UK search-and-rescue helicopter (SAR-H) services beginning in 2012 submitted their responses to the initial invitation to tender at the end of January and are embarking on a further round of dialogue before the program moves to the next selection stage.
Safety device manufacturers are striving to offer better obstacle detection equipment to confront the dangers of collisions with obstacles and especially wires. Options range from expensive systems that provide greatly enhanced situational awareness to lower-cost systems with more limited functionality.
The Lockheed Martin and AgustaWestland HH-71 team have successfully conducted aerial refueling tests involving a Royal Air Force AW101 Merlin Mk3 helicopter and an Italian Air Force KC-130J tanker, the companies announced.
The U.S. Navy has temporarily halted “Increment 2” development of the VH-71 Marine One presidential helicopter replacement program and is reevaluating available options. However, Pentagon officials say the current contract remains in effect.