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  • Farnborough 2014

    Airframer Preview

    After the flurry of new helicopter launches in recent years, 2014 has seemed relatively quiet in comparison.

    So far this year the only new programme to emerge is AgustaWestland’s AW109 Trekker – and that merely adds skids to its existing light twin. And for all that the Trekker is billed as new product, you might argue too that Airbus Helicopters also unveiled a fresh model with its plans for an enhanced Super Puma variant called the EC225e.

    Instead, then, consolidation and execution appear to be the watchwords as airframers look to finish development and certification of their new helicopters – and then get them out the door to customers.

    First deliveries this year have included the long overdue Sikorsky S-76D and the AgustaWestland AW189. US operator Bristow Group was the initial recipient of both new types, and the helicopters are now in service supporting the offshore oil and gas industry.

    Next to make its service debut will be the Airbus Helicopters EC175 with deliveries to three operators – Russia’s UTair, Belgian firm Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen and France’s Heli-Union – due in October.

    The French manufacturer finally secured certification for the 7.5t rotorcraft in January, following approval issues surrounding the type’s Helionix avionics suite announced last June. That marked the manufacturer’s second delay to the programme – in part driven by the desire of new chief executive Guillaume Faury to ensure complete readiness for the aircraft’s introduction.

    The question is whether that delay has dampened enthusiasm for the EC175. Orders have not been flooding in, although Airbus Helicopters points to a strong backlog of 64 rotorcraft. A total of 14 commitments for the type were logged at the Heli-Expo show back in March, which has already outstripped last year’s low order tally of just five aircraft.

    This show success was followed up by demonstration tours for the EC175 in both Southeast Asia – where it has yet to secure a customer – and the North Sea, where it has many.

    And even before the first helicopter has been delivered, keenly aware of the contest for super-medium supremacy with the AW189 and the developmental Bell Helicopter 525 Relentless, Airbus Helicopters has announced an upgrade and weight increase for the EC175.

    The manufacturer will next year begin evaluating the new model, which gains an additional 300kg (660lb) over the baseline helicopter, ahead of planned 2016 approval. The rival AW189 has already gained an additional 300kg, with AgustaWestland now billing what was previously an 8t-class helicopter as an 8.3t model.

    Although Airbus Helicopters believes the higher maximum take-off weight can be achieved without modifications to the airframe or engines, the test programme will assess any potential impact on maintenance costs, says Mickael Melaye, head of worldwide oil and gas sales at Airbus Helicopters.

    "We know that we had margins on pretty much every part of the aircraft, now we are asking for additional payload," he says.

    If the assessments reveal a negative effect on overhaul intervals or on the helicopter's empty equipped weight, the airframer may from 2016 offer customers a choice of variants to "maximise flexibility", Melaye adds.

    However, if the reverse is true it will likely only produce the heavier 7.8t model. "We still have to discuss this with our customers," says Melaye. Any modifications required will also be “retrofitable” to the previously delivered examples, he adds.

    In all, Airbus Helicopters plans to deliver “three to four” EC175s this year, before ramping up to 18 in 2015 and 30 in 2016.

    Sikorsky, too, is bringing a higher gross-weight variant of one its two civil helicopters to market. Around 10h of gearbox testing remain to be conducted on the new version of the S-92, says Carey Bond, president of Sikorsky Global Helicopters, which will be certificated at 27,700lb (12.6t) – an increase over the current 26,500lb maximum take-off weight. Following completion of the final evaluations “it is just paperwork and processing” that remain, he says, and the type should receive US Federal Aviation Administration approval in the fourth quarter.

    A few “minor” structural modifications have been required to achieve the new weight, but Bond says they will be retrofitable to existing S-92s. It will be presented as an option to customers, he says, as “there are some advantages at [26,500lb] if you don’t need the additional weight.”

    Operator reaction has been favourable, he adds. “People are just champing at the bit for[ 27,700lb] – I’m getting calls fairly frequently asking me to keep them up to speed.”

    Partly fuelled by the growth of oil and gas exploration activities further offshore, the S-92 continues to sell strongly – along with its big rival, the Airbus Helicopters EC225. Sikorsky is sitting on a backlog for the S-92 of around $2 billion, with production sold out until late 2016, says Bond. “The heavy market continues to be really, really strong,” he says.

    Meanwhile, Sikorsky’s other civil rotorcraft, the S-76D, is continuing its ramp-up following the first customer deliveries early this year. Although acknowledging that the medium market is “slightly flat”, as attention switches to long-range helicopters able to operate in more hostile environments, Bond points out that the backlog for the 5.3t type is still “north of $600 million”.

    Six S-76Ds are in customer operation, with one aircraft operated by Trinidad & Tobago’s National Helicopter Services having “just ticked through the 500h mark”, Bond says.

    Meanwhile, over at Bell Helicopter, the engineering teams of its two developmental programmes – the 525 Relentless and 505 Jet Ranger X – are still battling to win the race to first flight. Bell maintains that both are likely to achieve the milestone later this year, although the 505 may have the edge, says Matt Hasik, senior vice-president commercial programmes at Bell. This is due to the relative simplicity of the design, which features largely proven systems – particularly compared with the more complex, clean-sheet Relentless.

    Nonetheless, the first 525 flight-test article is coming together at Bell’s Amarillo, Texas production facility, and “is starting to look like a real aircraft”, says Hasik. Joining of the three sections of main fuselage should take place in the coming weeks, with final assembly activities following late this summer. A second flight test aircraft is also on the assembly line, scheduled for final assembly two to three months behind the initial example.

    Tests and validation of the Relentless’s fly-by-wire controls and software have been under way at the manufacturer’s Xworx research facility in Amarillo since last August, and are tracking towards first flight, says Hasik.

    “We have had almost a year to wring out and test and work through development of that code,” he says.

    Testing activities on the 525’s new carbonfibre rotor blades and new gearbox are also in progress.

    The other big news from Fort Worth this year is the revival of the Jet Ranger line, with the name now conferred on the aircraft previously known as the SLS – or short light single, from the segment in which it sits.

    Production of the first fuselage is complete at Aernnova’s factory in Querétaro, Mexico, and it will transfer this month for assembly at Bell’s site in Montreal, Canada.

    Back in Europe, Russian Helicopters is struggling with its own development challenges. First flight of the new Kamov Ka-62 – a 6.5t rotorcraft featuring a high degree of Western content – was originally planned for last August, but has continually slipped back and is now scheduled to take place later this year. Certification and entry into service will follow in 2016.

    Although not the biggest helicopter in its range, it does represent what could be a blueprint for future programmes with a much more Western outlook than previous models.

    The airframer is additionally still working to make progress on the Mil Mi-38 – a 15.6t multirole helicopter that is now severely overdue, having performed its first flight in 2003.

    Aside from the two development programmes, the other significant development involving Russian Helicopters is the cancellation of a programme so young it can barely be described as fledgling. Unveiled at last year’s MAKS air show, Russian Helicopters was to join forces with AgustaWestland to build a new 2.5t rotorcraft. However, that project was quietly shelved in March after the two parties changed their view on the segment, believing that competition there is too fierce.

    At AgustaWestland, however, its energies have been mainly focused on the entry into service of the AW189, and continued development work on the lighter AW169.

    So far two AW189s have been handed over, with the Anglo-Italian airframer targeting a total of “more than a dozen” deliveries this year. Operator feedback has been “very good” so far, as it utilises lessons learnt from the previous introduction of the AW139.

    Production will ramp up to at least 25 aircraft per year by 2016, the firm says, noting that “with final assembly lines in Italy and the UK, this can be increased depending on demand”.

    The Yeovil, UK site is specifically geared to the search and rescue segment – not least producing helicopters for operator Bristow for use on the UK’s Long SAR contract from 2015. The first two of 11 rotorcraft are in final assembly at the UK plant, and AgustaWestland says it is “hopeful” of securing further orders “in the near future”.

    Progress on the AW169 – a new 4.5t-class helicopter – has also been steady, with the manufacturer having flown a combined 800h across four prototypes and undertaken further ground trials on its static test article. The first prototype has recently performed load trials in the UK.

    Certification is expected by year-end, with first delivery the following year.

    Sales have been solid, with AgustaWestland having amassed some 120 firm and tentative commitments to date, and the airframer believes more will be forthcoming once it achieves EASA approval.

    “The AW169 is the only all-new helicopter in its class for nearly 40 years,” it notes.

    Production will eventually total 45-50 aircraft per year once the ramp-up is complete, it adds. Initially assembly will be conducted at Vergiate, Italy with a second line in Philadelphia coming on stream in the first half of 2015.

  • #2
    2014 Preview


    • #3
      UK Air-to-Air Refuelling Technology to Feature at Farnborough 2014

      An award-winning company from Fareham in the UK will unveil its latest technology to make helicopter refuelling safer when it attends Farnborough International Airshow later this month.

      Barnbrook Systems has developed an innovative fuel switch for a major aerospace company to cut off fuel pumps for split seconds at a time in order to stop spills during refuelling in the air and on deck.

      Anthony (left) and Andrew Barnett of Barnbrooks Systems

      Barnbrook of Fareham in Hampshire will also showcase engine control units which it repairs and overhauls for private jets as well other technology during the show’s week-long trade fair.

      Andrew Barnett, who is chief technology officer at the 35-strong company, said: ‘We have been to every Farnborough International Airshow for the past 20 years.

      ‘As the most important event for the aerospace and defence industry, it is a prime opportunity to demonstrate and showcase our new innovations and products to other leading industry figures and potential customers from around the world.’

      He added: ‘We are excited to be exhibiting our innovative, new fuel switch which will revolutionise the refuelling of helicopters, making it safer and more efficient. ‘Our attendance will continue a landmark year, coming after recent awards successes and a succession of new contracts.’

      The new technology is particularly aimed at refuelling on the deck of ships in heavy 
seas and includes technology with transducers for the fuel switch which detect waves of fuel inside a tank and cut off fuel pumps to prevent spillage through vents.

      The system will also be used for in-flight refuelling operations where turbulence can cause problems.


      • #4

        Turkish Aerospace to Display T129 ATAK and ANKA at Farnborough Airshow

        Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will be participating to the Farnborough Air Show 2014 (FIA 2014) and displaying T129 ATAK and ANKA at the static area. TAI's stand can also be visited at Hall 4 H1.

        "T129 ATAK" Multi Role Combat and Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter will perform flight demonstrations on July 14, 15, 16th and T129 will also be present at the static display area together with ANKA Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Class UAV.

        ​The T129 Atak

        T129 ATAK is a new generation, tandem two-seat, twin engine helicopter, specifically designed for attack and tactical reconnaissance purposes. T129 ATAK, developed from the combat proven A129CBT, incorporates totally new system philosophy with new engines, avionics, electro-optics and weapons, modified airframe, uprated drive train and new tail rotor. T129 ATAK, with the best in class power to weight ratio and optimized for "hot & high" environments, is the most efficient Attack Helicopter in the world.

        ANKA, advanced Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class Unmanned Aerial System, performs day and night, all-weather reconnaissance, target detection / identification and intelligence missions with its EO/IR and SAR payloads, featuring autonomous flight capability including Automatic Take-off and Landing. ANKA incorporates a heavy-fuel engine and electro-expulsive Ice Protection System with a Ground Control Station and dual datalink allowing operational security and ease.

        TAI has been a long term partner with the world’s leading OEMs in the international development and production programs. Current international partnerships include A400M, A320 Family, A350 XWB, A330, and Boeing 787, JSF/F-35, Sikorsky UH-60, AW139 and more.


        • #5

          AW Weapons Contract to be Announced at Farnborough

          AgustaWestland has signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence for platform integration of the two new missile types planned to arm AW159 Wildcat helicopters, scheduled to enter service with the Royal Navy.

          The deal has been signed for some time but so far has been kept under wraps.

          Industry sources say the contract is likely to be announced by the government at the Farnborough International Airshow, which gets underway July 14.

          The value of the contract and the completion timelines are not known at this time.

          AW159 Wildcat

          The long-awaited announcement would be the last of three deals announced by the British government this year aimed at equipping the Wildcat with medium- and short-range surface attack missiles.

          In March, Britain and France agreed to invest £500 million (US $856.8 million) in joint development of MBDA’s Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy) (FASGW(H) missile.

          That was followed up last month by a £48 million deal with Thales UK for the demonstration and manufacture of its Lightweight Multirole Missile for the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Light) role on the Wildcat.

          The weapons will give the helicopter the ability to combat corvettes, fast patrol craft and smaller maritime targets. The helicopter is also armed with lightweight torpedoes and machine guns.

          Delays in contract awards, particularly for the FASGW(H) missile, mean the new surface attack weapons are not scheduled to enter service until the end of the decade, some five years after the helicopter itself enters service.

          Known as the Lynx Wildcat in Royal Navy service, the helicopter was ordered by the MoD in 2005 to replace the current Lynx fleet.

          Twenty eight machines will be delivered to the Royal Navy with an in-service date of 2015.

          A further 34 Wildcats are already being delivered to the British Army for reconnaissance duties.

          The South Korean Navy has also ordered the helicopter but the Asian nation is fitting Rafael’s Spike missile for its medium-range surface attack requirements.


          • #6

            Durable Market Presence and Innovation are What We Offer says Airbus

            Airbus Helicopters’ Farnborough International Airshow participation will emphasize the company’s long-standing commitment to the U.K.’s civil and military markets through its diversified helicopter product line, along with the company’s innovation for further improvements in rotorcraft performance, efficiency and reliability.

            During the biennial industry gathering at the UK’s Farnborough Airport this month, Airbus Helicopters’ significant role in the global law enforcement marketplace is to be underscored by scale models of the twin-engine EC135 T3/P3 in police and EC145 T2 in passenger configuration.

            With a civil market share of 49%, Airbus Helicopters is market leader in the UK as well as in each civil market segment (EMS, Public Services, Private/Business Aviation, Commercial, and Oil & Gas). In addition to bolstering the country’s security capability, Airbus Helicopters aircraft represent the backbone of the U.K. emergency services, and perform vital functions underpinning the nation’s critical infrastructure. In its forty years developing the nation’s civil market, today’s leading involvement in the police and emergency sectors demonstrates the company’s strong commitment to providing support where it is most needed.

            Airbus Helicopters’ pursuit of innovative technologies will also be spotlighted at the air show with a presentation of the high-compression engine project – a collaborative effort to validate the use of improved-efficiency internal combustion engines in helicopters as part of Europe’s Clean Sky initiative. Working with a consortium that also includes engine manufacturers AustroEngine and TEOS, the goal is to demonstrate a high-compression engine’s potential to significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions, while providing power-to-weight ratios needed for helicopter applications.

            A high-compression engine currently is completing its test bench evaluations at Airbus Helicopters, and will be installed on an EC120 for ground-based testing. A scale model of the engine will be displayed on the Clean Sky initiative’s Farnborough Airshow exhibit (Hall 4, IZ/B10).

            “For Airbus Helicopters’ first appearance in its new branding at the Farnborough Airshow, we are highlighting how our expertise and technologies develop our products’ capabilities, operational efficiency, and safety,” explained Airbus Helicopters President Guillaume Faury. “It also is an opportunity to underscore our critical role in many of the UK’s civil and military operations, from training to public services.”

            Airbus Helicopters will be exhibiting with the Airbus Group at Farnborough (Pavilion #OE13), where its scale models and video presentation featuring its training successes are to be displayed. They highlight the company’s role as a preferred manufacturer for law enforcement and security agencies, which is confirmed in the UK by Airbus Helicopters’ supply of rotorcraft to more than half of the country’s police air support units – backed by a full range of support and training solutions.

            With the EC135 and EC145 in wide use by operators around the world, Airbus Helicopters has enhanced both rotorcraft as part of the company’s product evolution strategy. The latest EC135 T3/P3 version, due to be certified and delivered to initial customers this year, features increased flight performance and a higher maximum takeoff weight – benefitting from a larger main rotor, modernized FADEC flight control software and other changes.


            • #7

              AgustaWestland's Farnborough Line-Up

              AgustaWestland will be exhibiting an impressive line-up of eight helicopters from its commercial and military helicopter product ranges and showcasing its industry leading customer support and training services at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow.

              Making its first appearance at Farnborough will be a full scale mock-up of the recently launched AW109 Trekker light twin helicopter. Also from its commercial helicopter range the 4.5 tonne class AW169 and 8 tonne class AW189 will be on display, two of the company’s products from its unique Family concept that also includes the AW139 and spans the 4 to 8 tonne weight categories.

              The AgustaWestland AW149

              Military helicopters on display will include a mock-up of the AW169M light intermediate class helicopter, the naval variant of the AW159, the brand new multi-role AW149 and an at the top of the weight range an AW101 that will soon be delivered to the Italian Air Force. Also on display will be a naval variant of the NH90, produced by NH Industries in which Finmeccanica - AgustaWestland has a 32 percent stake.

              The NH Indistries NH-90

              Also on display will be examples of the wide range of customer support and training services Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland is able to offer its customers. These services range from innovative through life support solution to aircraft upgrades, aircrew and technician training courses through to the supply of entire training systems including full flight simulators and training devices.


              • #8

                Russia May Seek New Engine Development Partner

                Russian Helicopters is stepping up efforts to strengthen its base of international partners. The move is in part driven by the fact that it can no longer count on Ukrainian engine suppliers Motor-Sich and Ivchenko-Progress in the wake of ongoing political tensions.

                Alexander Mikheyev, the group’s general manager, says that international airshows, such as Farnborough 2014, present a convenient opportunity to hold meetings and discussions with Russian Helicopters’s European partners, including Turbomeca and AgustaWestland, that have been deeply involved in various industrial programs on Russian soil.

                The group is a holding company uniting all Russian design houses and manufacturing plants specializing in rotorcraft. It reported 2013 revenues of 138.3 billion rubles ($4.1 billion), representing a 10-percent increase over the previous year. This is despite the fact that the 275 deliveries last year were 15 aircraft fewer than in. Nine different types were shipped to customers in 10 countries.

                “Our main goal now is to actualize some new projects whose foundations have been laid during the past few years,” said Mikheyev. “We consider Russian Helicopters to be a highly innovative company.”

                The company said it is not concerned about the threat of economic sanctions by the U.S. and European Union against Russian aerospace firms. “So far the threat of sanctions has not created a real base for would-be disruption of earlier concluded contracts. This applies to state defense orders, civil helicopters and contracts involving military technical cooperation with other countries,” Mikheyev said. “Our European partners have been following the contractual terms and fulfilling their contractual obligations. In particular, this applies to the engines supplied by Turbomeca of France and various items from other European vendors.”

                The Russian government has developed measures to locate substitutes for imported end-user products and vendor items. The immediate solution for replacing the Ukrainian-made TV3-117 turboshaft-series engines is to increase output of the vastly similar VK2500 at Russia’s Klimov company in St. Petersburg. The smaller AI-450 turboshaft from Ukraine can be replaced with Austrian-built piston and diesel engines.

                In the long term, French-built engines are also seen as a solution. Turbomeca’s Arrius 2G1 turboshaft has been selected to power the Kamov Ka-226 and the Ardiden 3G for the Ka-62. The RTM322 is being considered for the high-speed Russian Advanced Commercial Helicopter (Rachel) and can also be fitted onto the Mi-17/Mi-35

                Italy’s AgustaWestland is seen as a potential strategic partner on light helicopters. “It is not that easy for us to pursue national lightweight rotorcraft programs [on our own], partly because the Mil and Kamov design houses are loaded to capacity with other projects. We [would do well to] turn foreign competitors into partners,” Mikheyev explained. A company called Helivert is already assembling the AW139 in Russia under a joint venture between Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland.

                “We need to keep our traditional market sectors,” Mikheyev continued. “In terms of money, we hold 14 percent of the world’s market share for rotorcraft. Our goal for the next two-to-three years is to increase to 18-to-20 percent and to develop platforms and products that will ride the tide of success. As for lightweight rotorcraft, we need to focus on a union with a global maker.”


                • #9
                  HUD for Civil use Operations

                  Elbit Systems has introduced a new addition to its Clearvision Enhanced Fight Vision System (EFVS) family: the Skylens wearable head-up display for helicopter pilots.
                  The head-mounted system is able to display symbology for day and night operations in all weather conditions, offering an “eyes out” capability in low visibility using the wide field of regard display, according to Elbit.

                  Helicopter Skylens is available for operators of medium-sized civil rotorcraft, and will provide them with an “out of the cockpit view”

                  “Similar to its commercial counterpart, the Helicopter Skylens is packed in a lightweight, easy-to-install device, much like a pair of sunglasses,” Elbit says. “A revolutionary approach to meeting the challenges of today’s aviators, Skylens provides head-up information while minimising the dependency on airport instrumentation.”

                  The Clearvision family of EFVS display high-resolution symbology and video onto a transparent visor to offer the head-up capability, according to Elbit.

                  The company’s helicopter avionics product line for civil applications fuses synthetic and real-time imagery using a “unique design symbology” and computer flight guidance.

                  “These features offer helicopter pilots a ‘real-world’ view of the terrain along with all obstacles within their flight path, allowing them to ‘see and avoid’ even when visibility outside the aircraft is limited,” the company says.


                  • #10
                    Airbus Selects Thales Scorpion

                    Airbus Helicopters has selected Thales’s Scorpion helmet-mounted sight and display system for integration into its future Helicopter Weapons System.

                    The off-the-shelf kit will be available for integration into new Airbus Helicopters combat types, as well as for retrofit onto existing models. It has already been integrated on multiple platforms in the USA, including the airframer's UH-72A Lakota and the Fairchild Republic A-10.

                    Scorpion features what Thales terms a Hybrid Optical-based Inertial Tracking (HOBIT) system, and operates with standard-issue night vision goggles while providing the same quality of display.

                    “This success is attributable to our superior and innovative Scorpion helmet product offering, matching Airbus Helicopters’ requirements, which are a benchmark within the rotorcraft market,” says Pete Roney, president of Thales Visionix.


                    • #11

                      Bell Treads on 'Hallowed' Airbus Ground

                      Bell Helicopter has cracked the French market for its Bell 429 helicopter, with INAER France signing a purchase agreement for the aircraft in Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) configuration. The company announced the contract on 14 July.

                      Bell Helicopter will deliver the aircraft equipped with a fully customised EMS interior and advanced avionics. INAER France, an Avincis Group operator, will operate the helicopter in support of medical rescue missions in the West region of France.

                      The Bell 429 EMS

                      Martin Whittaker, director of fleet and engineering, Avincis, said: ‘Medical missions are very demanding and require modern aircraft and the highest standards of safety. The Bell 429’s advanced technology and performance will allow us to provide safe and rapid transport to those most in need of care.’

                      Patrick Moulay, managing director for Europe, Bell Helicopter, added: ‘We are thrilled to introduce the Bell 429 to France with long-time customer INAER. The Bell 429 is the most modern light-twin helicopter available and as customers have realised the full capabilities of this amazing aircraft, our installed base in Europe has grown to more than 40 Bell 429s. It continues to gain popularity with HEMS and parapublic operators across the region.’

                      INAER France, which provides aerial surveillance assistance and parapublic mission operations, will take delivery of the Bell 429 later in 2014.


                      • #12

                        Anglo-Russian Relations Could Be Better

                        Russia’s defense industry will minimize its participation in arms exhibitions and aerospace shows in the UK, a high-placed source in the Russian defense and industrial sector told ITAR-TASS on Monday.

                        The decision comes after the UK denied visas to most managers of Russian defense companies that intended to participate in the UK’s Farnborough international Airshow opening on Monday.

                        “The unprecedented restrictions imposed this year by the British side on the participation of Russian specialists and journalists in the Farnborough 2014 international aerospace show, which has opened today in the London suburb, will get an adequate response from us,” the source said.

                        “The Russian defense and industrial sector has a sufficient number of places where it can demonstrate high technologies and the latest scientific and technical achievements without any restrictions,” the source said.

                        “Participation in European exhibitions will be reduced and emphasis will be shifted to exhibitions in other regions of the world, such as the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America,” the source said.

                        “For example, there is absolutely no need for us to participate in the DSEi arms and military technology exhibition, which is advertised by the British side and will be held in London next year. We’ll simply ignore it,” the source said.

                        “Due to the West’s sanctions against Russia, it has been decided to re-orient Rostec (state hi-tech corporation), Rosoboronexport (state defense seller) and special exporter enterprises to military and technical exhibitions in other regions of the world where Russian defense technologies are in strong demand,” the source said.


                        • #13

                          Bell Regains Loyalty of Swedish Police

                          Bell Helicopter, a Textron Company, has announced a signed purchase agreement with the Swedish National Police for seven Bell 429 helicopters. The aircraft will be used for police operations including, surveillance, reconnaissance, maintaining public order, aerial photography, aid in rescue missions and police transportation. The Swedish National Police were the first and only helicopter police unit in Sweden when they began operating Bell 47G-2A in 1964 to complete their duties. In addition to the new Bell 429 fleet, the Swedish National Police currently have a Bell 206 Jet Ranger that serves as a flight trainer at the organization’s own flight school.

                          A Bell 429 assigned to police operations

                          “We are honored the Swedish National Police have chosen us to continue providing them with the aircraft their missions demand,” said Patrick Moulay, managing director in Europe. “We are thankful for the opportunity to help the Swedish National Police protect and serve their country.”

                          The aircraft will be heavily customized in Bell Piney Flat facilities before their delivery to the Swedish National Police in 2015.


                          • #14

                            Sikorsky Announce First SAR S-76D Delivery

                            Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. today announced the delivery of the first S-76D™ aircraft equipped for search-and-rescue (SAR) services. The aircraft was delivered to Mitsubishi Corporation for use by the Japan Coast Guard. The announcement was made at the 2014 Farnborough Air Show in Farnborough, United Kingdom. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

                            Japan Coast Guard receive first SAR 'D' model S-76

                            To date, Mitsubishi Corporation has contracted for 11 S-76D helicopters for use by the Japan Coast Guard, which has a record of flying S-76® aircraft in the SAR configuration and continues to build on its history. Specifically, the Japan Coast Guard has flown the S-76C™, S-76C+™ and S-76C++™ models.

                            Japan Coast Guard's new S-76D

                            Among other essential equipment crucial to the SAR mission, the Japan Coast Guard aircraft will feature a fully coupled, four-axis autopilot to reduce pilot workload and enhance overall mission safety.

                            "We are excited to deliver our first S-76D helicopter outfitted for SAR operations to a loyal customer who has experienced the success of the S-76 family," said Dan Hunter, director, Platforms, Sikorsky Commercial Systems & Services. "Japan is an important market with many potential customers for all S-76D mission segments, and we are thrilled to have more of our aircraft operate in the region."


                            • #15

                              Bangladesh Air Force Order 139's

                              AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has signed a contract for two AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopters. These helicopters, which will be delivered by the end of 2015, will be operated by the Bangladesh Air Force to perform maritime search and rescue (SAR) and other utility missions.

                              This contract, which also includes a comprehensive support and training package, marks the establishment of the first dedicated maritime SAR helicopter fleet in the country. The AW139 was selected after an extensive evaluation process against a wide range of requirements including performance and safety. By choosing the AW139, the Bangladesh MoD will leverage on Finmeccanica - AgustaWestland’s extensive expertise in SAR and emergency services as well as the unmatched capabilities of the bestselling and most modern helicopter for the task.

                              The Bangladesh Air Force’s AW139s will feature an advanced mission configuration including a search/weather radar, FLIR, search light, rescue hoist, emergency floats and a state-of-the-art 4-axis dual digital AFCS with hover and SAR modes. Thanks to the AW139, the Bangladesh Air Force will be able to carry out the most demanding all-weather SAR operations in a maritime environment and will benefit from the high role versatility of the helicopter to conduct other utility missions in support of maritime security and disaster relief operations.


                              • #16

                                IAI Develops Helicopter Synthetic Vision

                                Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is introducing new helicopter safety technology that allows flight in degraded visual environments.

                                The safety system, which is being unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow this week, features staring radar, advanced processing algorithms and cockpit multi-functional display integration. The technology allows for low-altitude flight under all weather conditions or lighting and visibility, as well as for safe landing in brown-out conditions by alerting the pilot of electrical power lines and other ground obstacles.

                                A helicopter landing in a 'brown out' situation

                                The system generates a synthetic image of terrain, highlighting flight obstacles such as power lines and their supporting towers or poles. Offering a 95-percent detection probability for power lines, it comprises two 30- by 40-centimeter (11.8 inch by 15.7 inch) antennas, requires just 250 watts of power and weighs 30 kilograms (66 pounds). The system has successfully undergone flight tests and can perform real-time demonstration flights.


                                • #17

                                  Airbus Helicopters Eyes UK MoD Training Requirement

                                  Airbus Helicopters hopes to use its presence at Farnborough to advance its bid to replace the UK armed forces' fleet of 34 AS350 B3 Squirrel HT1 training helicopters.

                                  Presently operated by Cobham-owned FB Heliservices on behalf of the Defence Helicopter Flying School, the new aircraft are likely to be required from around 2018, says the Ministry of Defence.

                                  “A competition will be launched shortly to gradually upgrade our existing fleet of Squirrel HT1 training helicopters. Training will begin on the upgraded aircraft in 2018.”

                                  Dominique Maudet, executive vice-president global business and services at Airbus Helicopters, says the requirement for 30-40 aircraft will be “one of the most important deals of the year and maybe the coming years.”

                                  The refleeting appears to coincide with the transfer of rotary-wing training provision to the Ascent consortium under the UK’s Military Flying Training System programme when the current deal with FB Heliservices expires.

                                  Maudet says it plans to offer a mixture of EC130 and EC135 single- and twin-engined models to all the potential service providers bidding for the work with Ascent, including Cobham, Serco and Elbit. It will additionally bid as prime contractor in its own right through its Airbus Helicopters UK subsidiary.

                                  "We will talk to all partners and customers and the final user the Ministry of Defence."

                                  It is likely to face completion from AgustaWestland and potentially Bell Helicopter for the requirement.

                                  Australia ran a similar contest earlier this year which was eventually won by Boeing offering EC135s. "If for once the UK would follow the example of one of the commonwealth that would be great,” says Maudet.


                                  • #18

                                    Autopilot Now Available for 407GX

                                    Bell Helicopter has announced a new autopilot kit designed specifically to integrate with the Garmin G1000H avionics suite in the Bell 407GX.

                                    The option is currently available as a kit for the Bell 407GX in the U.S. and Canadian markets directly through Bell Helicopter and has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) for VFR (visual flight rule) operations. It features two-axis functionality with cyclic force trim and a Stability and Command Augmentation System (SCAS) available at all speeds with altitude and heading preselects. It can also be commanded to maintain either heading and altitude or navigation course and altitude. Additionally, a Go-Around mode can be activated by a single switch to provide automatic attitude leveling and transition to climb.

                                    “The autopilot option is a logical extension of the fully-integrated glass cockpit offered in the Bell 407GX,” said Danny Maldonado, Bell Helicopter’s executive vice president of commercial sales and marketing. “We wanted to provide a product that is not only compatible with the Garmin system, but also make sure that operators could easily integrate and continue to get the best safety, performance and reliability out of their aircraft.”

                                    The autopilot system, which is derived from the Bell 429 digital automatic flight control system, integrates with the Garmin G-1000H’s navigation modes and display and also integrates audio for caution alerts and mode annunciations. It is also compatible with a night vision imaging system (NVIS) and automatically disengages during heavy turbulence or extreme flight altitudes.


                                    • #19

                                      Russian Helicopters Deliver Final 4 of 52 Mi-171E's to China

                                      Russian Helicopters, a subsidiary of Oboronprom, part of State Corporation Rostec, announces that Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant has delivered four Mi-171E transport helicopters to China’s Poly Technologies, the final consignment of a contract for 48 helicopters signed by Rosoboronexport in 2012. In total under the original contract and a follow-on agreement the Chinese company has received 52 helicopters.

                                      “The successful completion of this large contract to supply Mi-171E helicopters is another step towards strengthening successful cooperation between Russia and China,” said Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant managing director Leonid Belykh. “Our helicopters have demonstrated their unique capabilities in action in China, and are deservedly in high demand in this fast-growing and high-potential market.”

                                      Mi-171E delivered to China

                                      The new helicopters are equipped to produce exceptional performance in mountainous terrain, including VK-2500 engines delivering increased power, a Safir auxiliary power plant and updated gearbox. Additional internal fuel tanks, a searchlight and landing seats significantly expand the helicopters’ operational options.

                                      Chinese crews have successfully completed training at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant’s training centre, where they learned techniques and rules for piloting the helicopters in various conditions using advanced training methods on the latest Mi-171 flight simulator. The pilots praised the comfort and ease of use of the simulator, its consistency with a real helicopter and the high level of competence of the training centre staff.

                                      Mi-171E operates successfully across China, in particular in areas with challenging terrain and harsh climates. They are used to carry cargo including medical supplies, humanitarian aid and construction materials. Russian Helicopters and Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant have received numerous appreciative reviews of the helicopters’ ultra-reliability when dealing with emergency situations.

                                      China is one of the biggest operators of Russian-made helicopters, and has a fleet of about 160 Mi-171s. Russian Helicopters is currently developing the latest model in this renowned series, the Mi-171A2, and Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant is making preparations to put the model into serial production.

                                      Russian Helicopters will showcase the Mi-171A2 and other new developments to potential customers from around the world at the Farnborough International Airshow currently underway at the town of the same name near London.


                                      • #20

                                        Enstrom Appoints New Distributors

                                        Enstrom Helicopter Corporation is pleased to announce three new Enstrom dealers: DSA a.s., in the Czech Republic, Hi-Tech Helicopters, Inc. in North Carolina, and Indiana Helicopters in Indiana.

                                        “All three are well-established companies and will enhance our market presence for these regions,” said Orlando Alaniz, director of sales and marketing at Enstrom. “We are looking forward to combining our strengths and creating a positive experience for our customers.”

                                        Czech Republic
                                        Located in Prague, DSA has been maintaining and restoring fixed-wing and rotary aircraft since 1991. Other services include a flight school, sightseeing and taxi flights, aerial photography, and transportation for medical patients and injured persons (HEMS).

                                        DSA will address helicopter needs in the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, and Hungary. “We help customers with their unique missions, and we are pleased to be able to offer the benefits of an Enstrom helicopter,” said Roland Vanhees, sales director at DSA.

                                        North Carolina
                                        Established in 2005, Hi-Tech Helicopters is a progressive helicopter training and sales facility located in Elkin, North Carolina.

                                        “Our goal is to provide exceptional flight instruction with safety first,” said John Kerrick, President. “With their reputation for safety and exceptional handling characteristics, Enstrom helicopters are ideal for training. I am excited to help people reach their aviation goals in an Enstrom.”

                                        Indiana Helicopters is a new Enstrom dealer in the midwestern United States.

                                        Indiana Helicopters provides helicopter flight instruction and aircraft rental in partnership with their sister company, Sweet Aviation. Chuck Surack, owner of both companies, is first in line to purchase Enstrom's new TH180 trainer. According to Surack, "I am really excited to partner with Enstrom for the next chapter in Indiana Helicopters and Sweet Aviation. I learned how to fly helicopters in an Enstrom, and the first helicopter I owned was a brand new Enstrom 480B. At Sweet Aviation, we train on an Enstrom F28F. It's my opinion that there isn't a better helicopter to learn on or personally own. We couldn't be happier to be an Enstrom Dealer and Service Center."

                                        Updates from Home
                                        Certification of the Garmin G1000H integrated flight deck for use in Enstrom’s model 480B is expected at any moment.

                                        “Certification flight tests are completed; we are just waiting for the i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed, “said Bill Taylor, Enstrom’s director of engineering.

                                        Additionally, development of the new TH180 trainer continues to roll along. Designs for the tailcone and the instrument panel have been completed, and it is anticipated that they will soon be in production. Flight testing of the governor and the new drive system also continues.


                                        • #21

                                          Boeing Bullish Despite Projected Fall in Military Sales

                                          Despite a projected fall in production numbers of US military rotorcraft in coming years, Boeing remains bullish about the long-term health of the segment.

                                          The company has seen the peak of production in many of its multiyear contracts with the Pentagon but is confident that foreign sales and upgrades will offset this decline, according to Chris Chadwick, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

                                          ‘If you look at rotorcraft as a whole, my estimate is that it’s going to maintain solid demand for some time,’ Chadwick said at a roundtable with reporters in advance of the Farnborough International Airshow.

                                          ‘We have got three unique products in the V-22, Chinook and Apache, and we have the AH-6i. Their competitors vary – there’s no real competitor to the V-22, Chinook is one of a kind and unique, and Apache we think is the best combat rotorcraft vehicle in the world.’

                                          Chadwick said the company did not foresee ‘demand moving down at all’ and while revenue may not grow immensely, it was expected to be solid for some time – especially through to the end of the decade.

                                          ‘The V-22 debuted in Dubai, now there is a lot of interest in the international arena, there is potentially the V-22 for the navy COD mission and that puts that in a really good position. Chinook we are looking at potential modifications and upgrades as we go forward with the US Army. It is one of those production lines that is close to commercial demand. If we could build it faster we would sell more.

                                          ‘And Apache is just the most connected vehicle we have and there continues to be a lot of demand for Apache worldwide. We are still in discussions with India.’

                                          Boeing is currently teamed with Sikorsky in pursuit of the Joint Multirole Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) programme, with a downselect announcement widely expected at the end of July.

                                          Boeing's Joint Multirole Technology Demonstrator being developed with Sikorsky

                                          Chadwick noted that like its agreement with Saab to jointly develop a new aircraft for the US Air Force's T-X trainer competition, the company was able to encourage a ‘collision of ideas’ in developing the JMR-TD alongside Sikorsky.

                                          ‘We have learned a lot in how Saab designs and develop. And they have learnt a lot from us with what we have done with lean, some of our technologies that we have been able to pull out of Phantom Works. So you have a collusion of ideas in terms of how you design, how you bring capability and then how do you mature it,’ Chadwick explained.

                                          ‘Look our partnership with Sikorsky on JMR FVL [Future Vertical Lift] – you have got the two best rotorcraft companies in the world that are teamed together because they know in this environment, going alone is going to be really tough. So leverage other people’s capabilities, know-how and investment and you end up with a better value proposition.’

                                          However, the company currently has no plans to fast track its SB-1 Defiant coaxial compound rotorcraft into production earlier than the current schedule as laid out in the FVL programme.

                                          The Boeing/Sikorsky team is competing against AVX Aircraft, Bell, and Karem Aircraft for the JMR-TD requirement.


                                          • #22
                                            Farnborough Photos




                                            All images courtesy of heliPress


                                            • #23
                                              Farnborough Photos

                                              Bell 429 EMS

                                              Bell 407GX

                                              Bell 525

                                              All images courtesy of heliPress


                                              • #24

                                                Turbomeca Forges Alliance with Russia

                                                Driven by the ambition to become world’s third largest turboshaft engine manufacturer after General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, France’s Turbomeca is pressing to establish a Russian partnership to develop and coproduce a new 3,000-shp engine based on the existing RTM322 powerplant and using the new Tech3000 core.

                                                From Turbomeca’s perspective, the key to the planned alliance is that the new engine would be selected to power the proposed high-speed Russian Advanced Commercial Helicopter (Rachel) being developed by Russian Helicopters. The French company already has a memorandum of understanding for a possible cooperation with Russia’s United Engine Corp. (Russian acronym: ODK), but the airframer itself has yet to resolve its powerplant plans for Rachel.

                                                Turbomeca is well positioned in the 500- to 2,000-shp market segment, but it needs a strategic partner to compete with its North American rivals for more powerful turboshaft requirements. Last year Turbomeca lost Rolls-Royce as partner and codeveloper of the RTM322 engine, which had been codeveloped and produced for the NH-90, Merlin and UK’s Apache aircraft.

                                                “We are ready to assemble engines on the Russian soil, together with ODK,” Turbomeca president and CEO Olivier Andreas told AIN. “But if we are not selected on the Rachel, it will be another story.”

                                                Turbomeca’s Ardiden 3G turboshaft engine has been chosen to power the Kamov Ka-62 helicopter; it is due to complete European certification in mid-2015​

                                                Possible Compromise

                                                However, if Russia accepts the offer of a codeveloped engine it will probably involve some compromise since the choice would impact the plans that Russian engine maker Klimov has to develop the TV7-117V turboshaft as a successor to its aging TV3-117/VK2500 family, which has seen long service with a succession of Mil and Kamov rotorcraft.

                                                According to Turbomeca, the advantages of the proposed RTM322/Tech3000 engine are that it offers a significant improvement in power-to-weight ratio as well as the prospect of achieving certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The French company is also seeking to convince its prospective Russian partners of the benefits of connecting with its existing client base of some 2,500 operators across 155 countries, plus 50 repair and maintenance facilities, 90 field service representatives and 12 training centers.

                                                “Our offer [to Russian Helicopters] was very well received,” Andreas said. Negotiations are still ongoing over the Rachel program. Andreas believes the French company is better placed to do business with Russian than with its North American rivals. General Electric and Pratt & Whitney have not succeeded in their previous attempts to partner with Russia’s engine manufacturers Saturn and Perm, respectively. The RTM322 is not constrained by U.S. export control restrictions now that Turbomeca has replaced several U.S.-made parts.

                                                Turbomeca’s sister company Snecma (part of the Safran group) has an established partnership with Saturn to develop the PowerJet SaM146 engine for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 airliner. Meanwhile, it’s Ardiden 3G turboshaft, scheduled for EASA certification in mid-2015, has been selected for the new Kamov 62 helicopter.


                                                • #25

                                                  Enstrom Sets Out Certification Timeframe for TH180

                                                  Enstrom Helicopter is preparing to fly its TH180 light piston-engined helicopter this quarter and says it will step up the sales and marketing effort for the two-seat single once it has established the aircraft’s performance characteristics.

                                                  Tracy Biegler, chief executive of the Chinese-owned US-based airframer, says the TH180 - a scaled-down version of its 280FX – is scheduled for certification in 2015.

                                                  The Enstrom TH180 training helicopter

                                                  The TH180 is targeted at the lucrative training school market and pitched against established brands including the Robinson R44, Schweizer 300 and the Guimbal Cabri G2.

                                                  “The helicopter training market has huge potential for us,” he says. “Not only does it help to drive sales of the aircraft but it introduces a new customer base to the Enstrom product line.”

                                                  Biegler says there is brand loyalty within the helicopter market. “We need to capture these potential customers early in their flying careers so they remember the Enstrom brand if they become helicopter owners."

                                                  Sitting above the $400,000 TH180 in the Enstrom line-up are the 3-seat piston-engined F-28F, the 280FX and the five-seat, turbine-powered 480B.

                                                  “We are also evaluating the market for a larger turbine single to sit at the top of our product line,” says Biegler. “This is a response to our 480 owners who want more seats. This programme will happen, but we don’t know when,” he adds.


                                                  • #26

                                                    AgustaWestland Awarded AW159 Wildcat FASGW Missile Integration Contract
                                                    AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that it has signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) valued at £90 million to integrate, test and install the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) Heavy and Light missile systems onto 28 Royal Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopters. The contract award was announced today at the Farnborough International Air Show by Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. The two missiles are the MBDA FASGW(Heavy)/ANL (Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy)/ Anti Navire Léger) and the Thales Light Multirole Missile (LMM) (FASGW (Light)). Both will be integrated onto the AW159 Wildcat to give it the ability to attack a wide range of surface targets ranging from small high speed surface craft up to large surface vessels such as corvettes, as well as coastal and land targets.

                                                    AW159 Wildcat

                                                    Thales Light Multirole Missile (LMM)

                                                    AgustaWestland, said “We are delighted to have secured this contract to equip the Wildcat with these two new technology missiles which will give the Royal Navy an exceptional and flexible anti-surface warfare capability." The AW159 Wildcat will be able to carry up to four launchers, two per weapon carrier, each with up to five LMM missiles, or up to four FASGW(H)/ANL missiles with two on each weapon carrier. It will also be able to carry a mixed load of LMM launchers and FASGW(H)/ANL missiles for maximum mission flexibility. The MBDA FASGW(Heavy)/ANL features a high speed, two-way data-link that communicates the images “seen” by the missile’s seeker to the operator, who, in addition to initiating an autonomous engagement, can alternatively remain in control of the missile throughout the full duration of its flight. This optional, man in the loop monitor and control facility enables new capabilities such as: in-flight re-targeting; final aim point correction and refinement; and safe abort. Ultimately, the missile will be able to engage targets situated out of direct line of sight when the launch platform is able to benefit from third party target designation or laser illumination.

                                                    MBDA FASGW (Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon)

                                                    The Thales LMM is a lightweight, precision strike, missile that has been designed to provide a rapid reaction to a wide range of surface naval threats from small ships and fast inshore attack craft as well as on-land surface threats. The work on this contract will be mainly completed at AgustaWestland’s facility in Yeovil which employs over 3,300 people to undertake the design, development and manufacture of helicopters and the integration of their systems, and provide through life training and support services. The company is manufacturing 62 Wildcat helicopters for the UK MoD, 28 of which will be operated by the Royal Navy and 34 by the British Army. The Wildcat is replacing the Lynx helicopter and 33 of the 62 aircraft have now been delivered comprising 12 for the Royal Navy and 21 for the British Army.


                                                    • #27

                                                      Weststar Take Delivery of First AW189

                                                      AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that Weststar Aviation Services Sdn Bhd (WASSB) of Malaysia has taken delivery of the first of two AW189 super medium helicopters. Weststar will use its AW189s to perform long range offshore transport missions in Malaysia. The official handover ceremony was held today at the Farnborough International Air Show. The customer also celebrated a new milestone with its AW139 fleet achieving 50,000 flight hours performing offshore transport missions. The delivery of the first Weststar AW189 marks the entrance of the new type into the South-East Asian helicopter market and makes Weststar the first operator who will benefit from the unique advantages of the Family concept in the region. The AW189s add to two AW169 light intermediate and to 34 AW139 intermediate twins ordered by the customer, with the first AW139 entering service back in April 2011.

                                                      Weststar executives at the handing-over ceremony today

                                                      Weststar's new AW189

                                                      Meanwhile, as the company continues to operate its business profitably, its CEO, General Tan Sri Muhammad Ismail Jamaluddin remarked, “With the AW189 we have just received, we are not just adding to our fleet a class-leading helicopter but more importantly, we are adding value to our current fleet with the benefits of commonality in design across the AW139, AW169 and AW189 family of new generation helicopters. Furthermore, with this acquisition, we are AgustaWestland’s launch customer in the Asia Pacific region.” He added, “Hand in hand, our fleet growth is central to our expansion plan. We aim to become a big player in the field of offshore transportation services and with the addition of the AW189, this gives our fleet more depth as we adapt to anticipated changes in future demand.” Commenting on Weststar’s rapid growth, he stressed, “To cater for the industry’s burgeoning operational needs, we aim to expand our fleet to 100 helicopters in the next five years. We strongly believe that current conditions are ripe for more demand in the immediate future and we aim to make the most out of this window of opportunity.”


                                                      • #28

                                                        Elitaliana Sign for Two AW109 Trekkers

                                                        AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that Elitaliana has signed a preliminary sales contract for two AW109 Trekker light twin engine helicopters. Ordered in Emergency Medical Service configuration, the AW109 Trekkers will support Elitaliana’s expansion plans which includes operating from new bases in Italy and abroad, in addition to the ones already located in the Lazio and Calabria regions of Italy. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2016.

                                                        The contract marks the entrance of the new AW109 Trekker into the HEMS market as well as into the European helicopter market and confirms customer’s confidence in this model, the latest addition to the unequalled range of AgustaWestland light twin engine helicopters. Elitaliana is already an established operator of the AW109 Power and Grand light twins and has also ordered the new generation AW169. This contract for two AW109 Trekkers and earlier contracts for six AW169 helicopters support Elitaliana’s strategy to bring into service the latest available technology to enhance the capabilities and cost effectiveness of their fleet.

                                                        "We choose to confirm our long term relationship with AgustaWestland and we're proud to be the launch customer for a HEMS equipped variant of the AW109 Trekker” said Alessandro Giulivi, Elitaliana's Operations Director. He added “The new helicopters will support Elitaliana's expansion plans in Italy and Europe as well as keeping our fleet up to date with a brand new generation of rotorcraft."

                                                        Unveiled at Heli-Expo in March 2014, the AW109 Trekker is the latest addition to Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland’s portfolio of class leading light twin-engine helicopters, the first to offer skid landing gear. With a maximum take-off weight of 3,175 kg (7,000 lb) and 3,200 kg (7,055 lb) with external loads and over 1,500 kg (3,306 lb) of useful load together with a class leading cruise speed (Vne) of 160 knots (296 km/h) the AW109 Trekker can claim to have the highest productivity in the light twin turbine helicopter market segment with highly competitive operating costs.



                                                        • #29

                                                          Bell's Patrick Moulay gives a round-up of the manufacturer's current activity in Europe: