AgustaWestland has said it expects to be cleared of bribery allegations relating to an Indian government order for 12 AW101 VIP helicopters. At press time, the Italian-UK joint venture was responding to questions from the Indian defense ministry in relation to a “show cause notice” that could result in the cancellation of the $750 million contract. It had until February 22 to answer these questions.
On Thursday, Finmeccanica’s board nominated Daniele Romiti as the new CEO of subsidiary AgustaWestland, replacing Bruno Spagnolini. Romiti, who was promoted from COO, has since been endorsed for the position by AgustaWestland’s own board. Spagnolini and Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of AW parent Finmeccanica, were arrested February 12 as part of an ongoing bribery investigation involving the sale of 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the government of India.
The Indian government has begun the process to cancel its contract with AgustaWestland (AW) for 12 AW101 VIP transport helicopters.
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.
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.
A manufacturer of small UAVs said it was awarded the first permit from the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (Enac) to operate a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in non-segregated airspace. Aermatica, of Venegono Superiore, Italy, said it obtained the permit for its Anteos RPA, a battery-powered quadcopter.
AgustaWestland delivered its 500th AW139 this summer to Weststar Aviation Services of Malaysia, a year after delivering its 400th AW139. Weststar is the largest operator of AW139s in Asia, with 13 already in service and three more on order. The company serves the offshore oil and gas industry.
The only way is up for Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica after it announced record losses of €2.3 billion ($3 billion) on March 27. Massive “exceptional events” and “non-recurring” charges totaling almost €3.2 billion ($4.3 billion) accounted for most of the financial hit.
The tumultuous reign of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may be over, but the damage it has inflicted on Italy’s economy and the ongoing euro crisis will likely linger well past his latest criminal trial.
A cooperation between General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and Selex Galileo will enable the integration and control of non-U.S. sensors on the Predator and Reaper UAV series. Selex Galileo has developed a “platform agnostic” open architecture named SkyIstar for unmanned aerial systems. The Anglo-Italian company will now integrate the SeaSpray 7500E radar on a Predator-B.