AgustaWestland takes ownership of BA609 tiltrotor


BA609 to be renamed AW609

AW609 tiltrotorAgustaWestland has announced
that it has taken full ownership of the BA609 tiltrotor programme. Bell Agusta
Aerospace Company (BAAC) will be renamed will remain a US company being
the new type certificate applicant to FAA. The new company will be totally
owned by AgustaWestland and the BA609 tiltrotor will be rebranded as the AW609.
The agreement is subject to obtaining the required regulatory approvals by the
relevant authorities in Europe and the USA.

The AW609 programme will be managed by a single development team, to be based
in Cascina Costa, Italy, from late 2011. The nearby
Cameri site will be dedicated to the development programme for AW609 government
applications. AgustaWestland will also open a new operational base in Arlington, Texas, to
manage the US
based tiltrotor operations. AgustaWestland is fully committed to rapidly
proceed with the AW609 programme development capitalizing on the activities
already performed so far.

“I believe it is in the best interests of the programme for AgustaWestland to
assume ownership and management over the programme going forward,” said Bruno
Spagnolini, chief executive officer of AgustaWestland. “We consider the
tiltrotor concept as the answer to the growing need for an aircraft matching
the vertical capabilities of helicopter with the speed, range and altitude
capabilities of fixed wing aircraft. AgustaWestland is investing in the next
generation of rotorcraft technologies and the AW609 and future tiltrotor
concepts are part of our innovation commitment.”

“We expect significant worldwide market opportunities for the AW609, both for
commercial and government applications,” added Spagnolini. “In particular, the
business and sales model case for the AW609 fits consistently with the
AgustaWestland extensive, modern product range of dual use aircraft.”

Bell Helicopter will remain
involved in the design and certification of AW609 components for which it will
be the supplier when the aircraft reaches the production phase.