Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland, inked a contract today at Heli-Expo 2014 with AgustaWestland for as many as 18 helicopters worth more than $280 million. The order includes up to 14 AW139 intermediate helicopters and up to four twin-engine AW189s. The helicopters will be delivered from 2014 through 2018, if all options are exercised.
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.
Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison said that the price of the company’s new short light single (SLS) helicopter would be pegged near $1 million. Bell is expected to reveal a mock-up of its re-entry into the light single market at its booth on Tuesday at 11 a.m.
A prominent contingent of three Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors has descended on Singapore for the airshow to highlight the type’s significant capabilities, which combine the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft with the mobility and no-runway operations of a helicopter.
“The Middle East remains a very important market for AgustaWestland,” said CEO Daniele Romiti on the eve of this year’s Dubai Airshow. “It is a challenging market, where personal relationships have a great importance,” he added.
Israel will receive six Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotors, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel confirmed. They will come out of “the next order to go on the assembly line,” he added, with delivery within two years. The V-22s are being built under multi-year contracts, the latest of which was signed earlier this year.
Companies proposing either tiltrotor or compound helicopter designs have won contracts from the U.S. Army for its joint multi-role technology demonstration (JMR TD) Phase 1 program to develop a next-generation vertical-lift aircraft.
Bell Boeing, the joint venture that produces the V-22 and MV-22 tiltrotor for the Air Force, Navy and Marines, announced that it had successfully demonstrated the capability of that aircraft to serve as an aerial refueling tanker in trials with F/A-18C/D fighters. The test V-22 used a retractable refueling drogue. Bell Boeing has been promoting the V-22 for other roles, including that of the Greyhound COD resupply mission for aircraft carriers.
AgustaWestland is flight-testing a redesigned vertical fin for the AW609 civil tiltrotor, part of an extensive package of aerodynamic improvements aimed at reducing drag by up to 10 percent, cutting weight and increasing performance. Other changes include new engine exhaust nozzles and modifications to the prop-rotor spinner cones.