Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland announced that the Company has introduced several performance and product improvements for the AW609 TiltRotor to enhance the aircraft’s capabilities. It has recently completed an extended technology development flight test programme which has confirmed anincrease in the maximum take-off weight up to 18,000lbs (8,165 kg) thanks to engine upgrades, landing gear modificationsand optimized flight control techniques.These test results validate a sizeable increase inuseful load that providesusers with the capability to fly 500 nm point-to-point with a full load of nine passengers in two hours.
To further enhance mission capabilities underwing auxiliary fuel tanks are being developed to increase range and endurance and ensure that the additional take-off performance may be built into a wide array of mission profiles. These will permit the aircraft to boost its maximum range to 1,100nm(2,038 km) and allow users to transport six passengers over a range of 800 nm (1,482 km) in a little over three hours.
The cabin door is also being enlarged on all variants to improve access, in particular for SAR and EMS operations, roles in which the AW609 TiltRotor can deliver dramatically increased capabilities for certain missions when compared to helicopters, due to its much higher cruise speed and longer range.
In the cockpit the AW609 will have a new fully integrated Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion flight deck, combined with upgraded flight computers and sensors to provide pilots with the very latest features to manage and monitor flight activities and make flying safer.
These improvements follow earlier envelope expansion test flying and aerodynamic changes that demonstrated best-in-class speed, range, and cruise altitude and delivered a 10% drag reduction.
With nearly 1,200 flight hours logged by the first two prototypes and two more aircraft being readied for certification testing, the AW609 programme development is progressing to plan and is focused on FAA civil certification in 2017. Almost 60 customers have already chosen the AW609 globally to perform several missions such as offshore transport, patrol and search and rescue, executive/private transport and government roles.