Leonardo’s Helicopter Division performs research, design, development, production, customer support and marketing of the company’s extensive range of modern helicopters for commercial, public service, and security and defence applications.
Current production covers all the main helicopter weight categories, from the 1.8 tonne single-engine to the 16 tonne three-engine. All the helicopters are dual commercial and military use platforms except some specific military platforms (NH90, Super Lynx 300, AW159 and AW101).
The Division is able to manage the entire helicopter development and production cycle. The plants, concentrated in Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland and the United States, are fully integrated and are organised around ‘centres of exellence’ that support the final assembly lines. The final assembly lines are located in Vergiate and Tessera (Italy), in Yeovil (United Kingdom), in Świdnik (Poland) and in Philadelphia (United States).
The Helicopter Division also includes the operations of Polish subsidiary PZL-Świdnik, acquired in 2010.
From 1 January 2016, the Helicopter Division has absorbed the activities of AgustaWestland.
A FAMILY OF HELICOPTERS
The AW139, AW169 and AW189 models are part of a family of new generation helicopters, all featuring the same design philosophy and the same certification and safety standards. The family’s models also share many component parts and the same approach to maintenance and training. This translates into significant advantages in terms of operational efficiency and a reduction in through life costs for the users.
AFTER-SALES SUPPORT AND TRAINING
The Helicopter Division pays particular attention to providing customers with efficient logistics and maintenance support in order to increase the operational availability of their helicopters while reducing through life costs. This means offering commercial and military customers the best after-sales support and training solutions tailored to their specific needs.
Integrated Operational Support (IOS) solutions are delivered for the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence Sea King, AW101 Merlin, Apache AH.1 and AW159 Wildcat fleets as well as the Italian Army’s NH90s. A worldwide network of service centres linked with logistics centres and storage sites for components and spare parts are located in Europe, the United States, Brazil, the Middle East and Asia.
The Division offers a wide range of training courses for aircrew and maintenance personnel. Advanced level D flight simulators are used and courses delivered through the ‘A. Marchetti’ Training Academy in Sesto Calende (Italy), the training centre in Yeovil (United Kingdom) and those in Philadelphia and Morristown (United States) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). The range of training services and facilities are continually being expanded around the world.
The extensive network of international collaborations developed over the years has helped to expand our range of products and increase the penetration of markets and sales opportunities. The main international partners in the Helicopter Sector are:
- Boeing (USA) for licence production of the Apache AH Mk.1 for the United Kingdom, as well as the integration and final assembly of the ICH-47F for the Italian Army
- Airbus Helicopters (France/Germany) and Fokker (The Netherlands) for the NH90 programme, an 11 tonne military helicopter for naval and land use
- TAI Turkey) for the T129 combat helicopter for the Turkish Land Forces Command. TAI and the Polish company PZL-Świdnik (part of the Finmeccanica Group since 2010) also make helicopter airframes for different models
- Russian Helicopters (Russia) for the final assembly line of AW139 and AW189 civil helicopters in Russia through the HeliVert joint venture
- AVIC II (China) for the assembly, marketing and support of the AW109 Power for the Chinese commercial market through the Jangxi Change Agusta Helicopter (CAH) joint venture
- Kawasaki Heavy Industries ((Japan) for assembly of the AW101 in Japan
- CAE (Canada) for the development and operation of modern helicopter simulators through the Rotorsim joint venture
- Abu Dhabi Aviation ((United Arab Emirates) providing support and maintenance services in the Middle East through the AgustaWestland Aviation Services LLT joint venture.
TECHNOLOGY AND FUTURE PROGRAMMES
The Helicopter Division works constantly to expand the capabilities and performance of its products, and to integrate the latest technologies into all of its programmes, now and in the future, with the aim of developing rotorcraft capable of bringing about a revolution in the industry. These substantial investments in research and development have helped to create the most modern and technologically advanced range of rotorcraft available today.
New products being developed include the AW609 tiltrotor and the tiltwing, platforms that combine the advantages of a fixed wing aircraft’s speed with the helicopter’s ability to hover into one platform.
The Division is also engaged in research and development for unmanned rotorcraft RUAV (Rotary Wing Unmanned Air Vehicles), capable of meeting the operational needs of the future.
In addition to its own research and development activities, the Division is actively involved in many collaborative research programmes with major European aerospace companies, high-tech SMEs and with prestigious academic institutions. Furthermore, under the European ‘Clean Sky’ initiative, the Division is co-leader of the ‘Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstrator’ project, aimed at the reduction of external noise, a more environmentally friendly and efficient energy and propulsion system, and the development of flight paths with low environmental impact.