Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland announced that the new generation AW169 light intermediate 4.5-tonne class helicopter has entered full scale production, with the first aircraft now on the final assembly line at its Vergiate facility in Italy. The event marks a major milestone ahead of EASA certification, with deliveries to the first batch of customers set to start in the 2nd quarter of 2015. The AW169 is the first all new aircraft in its weight category to enter the market in nearly forty years.
The AW169 flight test programme, utilizing four prototypes, has so far amassed over 1200 flying hours during flight testing in Italy, the UK and USA. A second AW169 final assembly line is planned at AgustaWestland’s Philadelphia plant in the US, while AgustaWestland’s Yeovil plant in UK is already playing a key role in the production of rotor blades and tail rotor transmission system. In parallel to the start of full scale production, AW169 training systems are being established at AgustaWestland’s Sesto Calende Training Academy in Italy, including a level-D full flight simulator and maintenance trainer.
A versatile, new generation twin engine light intermediate category helicopter, the 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. The AW169 is being certified in accordance with EASA CS-29 / FAR Part 29 latest Amendments. The type incorporates several new technology features in the rotor system, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation and distribution systems, and is the first all new helicopter in its class in nearly 40 years. The AW169 can comfortably accommodate up to ten passengers in its large, unobstructed cabin, fitted with a range of customized equipment and entertainment systems. The powerplant features an Auxiliary power unit (APU) mode ensuring the continued operation of the environmental control system, radios and medical equipment when the rotors are stopped. The AW169’s avionic suite introduces state-of-the-art technology including a full digital NVG compatible cockpit with touch screen technology.
The AW169 is designed with inherent ease of maintenance, for reliable, intensive utilisation in the most demanding conditions with high time between overhauls (TBO) and minimal life-limited parts. Time between successive inspections has been optimised to maximise aircraft availability and reduce maintenance man hours per flight hour, adopting MSG-3 approach for the maintenance process. Maintenance programmes can be tailored to meet operators’ specific requirements.
The AW169 helicopter is part of AgustaWestland’s family of new generation helicopters that also includes the AW139 and AW189. These helicopters all possess the same high-performance flight characteristics and safety features whilst sharing the same common cockpit concept and design philosophy. This approach facilitates synergies for operators of these models in areas such as training, flight operations, maintenance and support. Over 120 AW169 helicopters have been ordered by customers around the world to date, including framework contracts and options, for a wide range of applications including executive and private transport, air ambulance, law enforcement, offshore transport and utility roles.