After "testing the market" with a mockup unveiling at Farnborough 2010, and getting an encouraging response, AgustaWestland is announcing the full commercial launch of its AW169 "light intermediate" twin here at Heli-Expo in Orlando.
The company began signing purchase agreements in January, and the 4.5-tonne helicopter is scheduled to fly in 2012, leading to certification at the end of 2014 and first deliveries immediately thereafter. Concept: AgustaWestland
AgustaWestland is hoping to repeat its success with the AW139 medium twin, more than 350 of which have been delivered, and is applying the same formula to the all-new AW169: lots of power and technology, advanced rotor aerodynamics and integrated avionics, and a big, best-in-class cabin.
The company sees a big market in the AW169's size class - also to be contested by Eurocopter's Dauphin replacement - more than 900 aircraft over 20 years, says marketing svp Roberto Caravaglia. A bullish forecast that likely explains AgustaWestland's lack of interest in LoIs and other soft commitments - "It's either orders or we won't take them," says CEO Guiseppe Orsi.
The 8/10-passenger AW169 is being designed to have the versatility and performance to appeal across the same markets as the larger AW139: offshore, EMS, SAR, law enforcement, corporate and commercial pasenger service. The mockup (below) will make its Heli-Expo debut today (Sunday).