Agusta gains new deal on landmark day
By Western Daily Press | Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 09:00
It was another high profile day for AgustaWestland at Farnborough International Air Show yesterday as the military helicopter manufacturer handed over the first of its new military Wildcat helicopters to the Armed Forces.
It also announced a raft of international orders for commercial aircraft in what was an all-round good day for the Italian-owned company's Yeovil workforce.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was at the show to officially receive the first Wildcat, the replacement for the Forces' veteran workhorse – the AgustaWestland-built Lynx.
The presence of the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, and the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, was evidence of the vital importance of the new arrival to both services.
Wildcat is built at the Yeovil factory, which also makes tail rotor transmissions for the Italian-built commercial AW139 and other components for the AW169, which is also built in Italy.
The company showcased the AW139, AW169, and a mock-up of the AW189, the very latest in its commercial stable, as a "family" of aircraft offering a wide range of capability. The Western Daily Press revealed yesterday that vital design and development work on the AW189, a contender for the UK search and rescue market, will come to Yeovil.
The 500th AW139 has just been delivered, and yesterday the company announced that CHC Helicopter has signed a contract to acquire ten of the medium twin engine helicopters over the next three years for offshore transport missions for the oil and gas industry.
Russia has ordered three AW139s for use by a "Government Agency" on special security missions. They are scheduled to enter operational service in 2013.
The Italian Police have just joined Italian Government operators of AW139s, with two ordered for a variety of roles including border patrols. The Italian coastguard, customs and air force are already customers.
A Japanese company is to acquire another two AW139s, bringing the total bought by Japan for fire-fighting operations in the last 18 months to five.
Meanwhile Airbus, which has a large operation in Bristol, had some much needed good news of its own at the show yesterday.
The firm, which employs around 4,000 staff at its factory in Filton has won a potential £3.5 billion order for its A350 passenger jet. The announcement was the company's first major deal at what has been a relatively subdued show.