AW169 Helicopter Final Assembly Line To Be Established at AgustaWestland Philadelphia
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that a final assembly line for the new generation AW169 helicopter will be established at its AgustaWestland Philadelphia facility located at Northeast Philadelphia Airport in the United States of America.
The first Philadelphia built AW169 helicopter will be inducted into the final assembly in May 2014 and will be delivered to the first customer in early-2015. The new production line will ramp up to produce around 20 aircraft per year by 2017. Incorporating a lean advanced manufacturing philosophy, the new AW169 production line will be scalable to accommodate production escalations based on market demand. Also AgustaWestland’s facilities in Vergiate (Italy) and Yeovil (UK) will play major roles in the manufacturing activities for the AW169 programme.
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William Hunt, CEO, AgustaWestland Philadelphia said “This is an exciting day for the team. As a major producer of commercial helicopters in the United States, we are pleased to further expand our production portfolio to include the AW169. The arrival of the AW169 production line will secure and create jobs here in Philadelphia and within our supply chain in North America. We have been in Philadelphia for over 30 years and have realized tremendous growth in servicing and supporting the commercial helicopter market over the past 10 years.”
He added “The AW169 has generated an exceptionally good response in the market place since its launch securing orders for more than 80 aircraft. As the only new generation helicopter in its class for more than 30 years we believe it will be a great success and we are proud that the AW169 will be assembled in Philadelphia for our customers in the United States and around the world.”
More than 80 AW169 helicopters have now been ordered for a wide range of missions including corporate transport, air ambulance, law enforcement, utility and offshore transport. With all four prototypes already flying, the AW169 is on schedule to achieve civil certification in 2014.
A versatile, new generation twin engine light intermediate category helicopter, the 10,000 lbs (4.5 tonne) AW169 has been designed in response to the growing market demand for an aircraft that delivers high performance, meets all the latest safety standards and has multi-role capabilities and state-of-the-art technology. The large spacious cabin can seat up to 10 passengers and is easily accessed via large sliding cabin doors.
The AW169 is part of the AgustaWestland family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW139 and AW189 models, which posses the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features as well as sharing a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concept. This commonality will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets across the 10,000 to 19,000 lbs (4.5 to 8.5 tonne) weight categories.
Source : AgustaWestland, A Finmeccanica Company (Milan: FNC.MI)