Italian police arrested the current and former CEOs of AgustaWestland on bribery charges this morning and raided the company’s Milan headquarters. Giuseppe Orsi, who served as the helicopter manufacturer’s CEO until December 2011 and is currently head of its parent company, Finmeccanica, was taken into custody, while current AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini was placed under house arrest.
Neelam Mathews and Vladimir Karnozov contributed to this report.
Helicopters were much in the news at the Aero India show this week. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) showed the armed version of its advanced light helicopter (ALH) called “Rudra.” The company’s light combat helicopter (LCH) was also on show, and so was an armed Mil-17V5. The Indian Navy’s new multi-role helicopter (MRH) requirement also attracted attention.
AgustaWestland has chosen Thales’s Flash Compact range of dipping sonars to equip Lynx helicopters for export markets. According to Thales, the lightweight sonars, featuring a fully electric reeling machine, allow smaller helicopters to have high-performance sonar capability for anti-submarine warfare.
AgustaWestland is making a new push into South America. The Italian helicopter maker, part of the defense and industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica, signed a memorandum of understanding on January 21 to establish a joint venture with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer to build AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with Brazilian aircraft company Embraer to establish a joint venture to manufacture AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
Korea has chosen the AgustaWestland AW159 over the Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk as its new maritime operational helicopter. The contract for eight aircraft is the first export order for the new-generation aircraft, which is entering service with the British Army and Royal Navy. The Korean Navy already operates about 20 Super Lynx helicopters, the predecessor to the naval version of the AW159.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered a review of the regulation of helicopter flights over central London in the wake of an accident yesterday in which an AgustaWestland AW109 Power crashed into a newly erected crane on a high-rise building in the UK capital’s Vauxhall district. The accident claimed the life of pilot Pete Barnes, the sole occupant of the helicopter, which was being operated by UK-based charter firm RotorMotion.
The first AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter assembled in Russia flew last month, Helivert, a joint venture between AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters, announced Tuesday. The 37-minute maiden sortie took place on December 19 at Russian Helicopters’ “National Helicopter Building Center” in Tomilino, near Moscow.
AgustaWestland’s new eight-ton medium-heavy twin recently completed high/hot testing in Arizona, Colorado and Texas and now heads north. The company expects certification in this year’s second half. AgustaWestland has logged orders for approximately 60 of the new helicopters, primarily from the oil and gas market.
AgustaWestland is giving serious consideration to building production models of the AW609 civil tiltrotor in the U.S., possibly in Texas, a senior executive told AIN last month. Robert LaBelle, managing director of the AgustaWestland TiltRotor Co., said that initially the aircraft will be built partially in Italy and the U.S. but that the ultimate decision on where to conduct final assembly will be “driven by the customer base.” Some 35 percent of that customer base, he noted, is predicted to be in the U.S.