On Tuesday, AgustaWestland broke ground on a new Russian production plant at Tomilinom, near Moscow. The 120,000-sq-ft building will house another final assembly line for the AW139 medium twin helicopter that will be operated by HeliVert, a 50-50 joint venture between AgustaWestland and state-owned Russian Helicopters. The AW139 is currently manufactured in Italy, as well as in the U.S. at Agusta’s Philadelphia plant.
A spokesman for AgustaWestland (AW) told AIN that the company is still in the hunt for the U.S. VXX Presidential helicopter replacement program, commonly known as Marine One. Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, the chairman and CEO of AW parent company Finmeccanica, suggested that AW could partner with Boeing and L-3 for the contract.
AgustaWestland’s Deliveries Up, Orders Down for Last Year
AgustaWestland parent company Finmeccanica on Friday disclosed its 2009 results, showing increased deliveries but slashed orders for the Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer. Revenues grew by 15 percent to €3.48 billion (about $4.7 billion) in 2009. This was influenced by robust deliveries of AW139 medium and AW101 heavy helicopters, as well as product support results, the company said. The pre-tax earning margin stagnated at 10.7 percent.
To the accompaniment of multicolored lights and music, AgustaWestland unveiled its new AW109 Grand New here yesterday. According to AgustaWestland head of marketing Roberto Garavaglia, the helicopter is a “step change” follow-on to the popular AW109S Grand.
AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi offered a satisfactory look back at 2009, as well as a positive forecast, during a Heli-Expo press conference on Saturday here in Houston.
“Last year was better than we had expected,” he said, although the year-end numbers won’t be announced officially by Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland’s parent company, until early next month. “Despite the [economic] crisis, 2009 was a great year for us.”
Selex Galileo (Stand J39) believes it can become a key player in defense electronics in Southeast Asia. Here at the Singapore Airshow, the Finmeccanica subsidiary is promoting defensive aids, electro-optical (EO) sensors for maritime surveillance and active array radars.
Alenia Aeronautica plans to begin training, early next year, employees of Strata, the new composites aerostructures company formed by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. The Italian group, which has extensive experience with composites manufacturing, has been partnered with Mubadala (Stand C510) in the venture since October, when the sovereign wealth fund signed an agreement with its parent Finmeccanica (Stand C420).
Alenia Aeronautica is one of three companies within the Italian Finmeccanica group that deal with fixed-wing aircraft production. The others are Alenia Aermacchi, which is also active in both commercial and military aircraft, and Superjet International, the joint venture with Russia’s Sukhoi in the regional jet business. The company is eagerly awaiting the imminent maiden flight of the Boeing 787, which will open a new phase in the program.
The world financial crisis is hitting military budgets as well as commercial aviation, forcing Finmeccanica, Italy’s leading defense and aerospace group, to keep a close eye on the evolving situation.