AgustaWestland (Booth No. 6937) picked Heli-Expo 2014 as the place for signing an OEM agreement with Trakka (Booth No. 3528). The latter will supply AgustaWestland with its successful Trakkabeam A800 searchlight for factory installation as the primary searchlight available on all new AgustaWestland platforms (AW169, AW189) as well as on the company’s established helicopters.
AgustaWestland (AW) is performing customer demo flights aboard its prototype tiltrotor AW609 this week at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif., but with the aircraft still early in the certification process few potential customers qualified to get on board. The FAA requires such passengers to be appropriately rated rotorcraft pilots, undergo simulator training in the company’s AW609 simulator, conduct a familiarization flight in the aircraft and receive a second-in-command rating.
Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland, announced signing orders for helicopters here at Heli-Expo 2014 worth almost $1 billion: the orders include a contract with AgustaWestland for as many as 18 helicopters valued at more than $280 million and a contract with Airbus Helicopters for as many as 21 new rotorcraft valued at some $645 million. Adding up the new orders and others since its launch in 2012, LCI has ordered more than $1.3 billion worth of rotorcraft.
Aviation industry data provider JetNet released its year-end statistics for the pre-owned helicopter market, which shows that retail sales for used turbine and piston rotorcraft experienced double-digit year-over-year declines of 11.8 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively, in 2013.
Turbine helicopters saw an 11.4-percent increase in the number listed for sale year-over-year, with the percentage of the available in-service fleet increasing from 6.1 percent to 6.4 percent, while the average number of days on market declined by 18 days over the previous year, to 414.
For the first time in North America, Italian OEM AgustaWestland (Booth No. 6937) is displaying here at Heli-Expo its complete family of new-generation helicopters, a lineup comprising the AW169, AW139 and AW189, along with the PZL-Swidnik SW-4, which is making its debut Heli-Expo appearance. The three new-generation helicopters cover the four- to eight-ton categories and share a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concept.
The UK Royal Navy (RN) deployed its first maritime UAS this week, when an Insitu Scan Eagle system was added to RFA Cardigan Bay, which is supporting the EU anti-piracy patrols off Somalia.
ndia’s government has cancelled its $770 million contract with AgustaWestland to supply 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) amid bribery allegations. On January 1, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) issued a statement saying the government “has terminated with immediate effect the agreement…on the grounds of breach of the pre-contract integrity pact and the agreement” by AgustaWestland. The Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer denies the allegations.
Heli USA, the third largest helicopter tour operator in Las Vegas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month in a move the company asserts was triggered by a commercial dispute with AgustaWestland over leased helicopters. Heli USA had stopped making lease payments after it claimed the Italian airframer failed to deliver a trio of helicopters with ordered equipment, including sightseeing windows and in-flight entertainment systems. Heli USA filed for Chapter 11 in a bid to stop AgustaWestland from repossessing the aircraft.
Sikorsky Aircraft is lobbying to replace AgustaWestland (AW) as the supplier of VIP helicopters to the Indian Air Force. The company is already building fuselages for the S-92 in India. Meanwhile, the Indian Minister of Defense confirmed that the ministry had sent a legal notice to AgustaWestland regarding the contract for 12 AW101s, now in jeopardy after the company allegedly violated the terms of a pre-integrity pact. The company has 21 days to respond.
India’s attorney general, Goolamhussein Essaji Vahanvati, ruled last week that AgustaWestland breached contractual obligations and an associated “integrity pact” in winning a $787 million contract to supply 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2010, raising the possibility the government will cancel the deal.