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Russia, Italy to set up JV to assemble helicopters

Russia’s helicopter manufacturer and Italy’s AgustaWestland signed a basic agreement at the Farnborough air show in England on Tuesday to set up a joint venture to assemble AW139 helicopters in Russia.

AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi said the joint venture with Oboronprom to assemble AW139s would meet the growing demand for the helicopter and strengthen the company’s foothold on the CIS market. “Under the contract, Russian helicopter manufacturers will get access to new production technology and high-quality standards for helicopter servicing,” Oboronprom director Andrei Reus said.

The Russian businessman added that Oboronprom, a subsidiary of Rosonboronexport, would seek to localize the production of the AW139 production in Russia. The AW139 is a medium two-engine helicopter with a takeoff weight of 6.4 metric tons. It can seat up to 15 passengers and be used as a corporate or VIP helicopter as well as in offshore, emergency, rescue and firefighting operations.

AgustaWestland is one of the world’s largest helicopter manufacturers with production sites in Italy, Britain and the United States. It is incorporated into the Finmeccanica Group.

The Farnborough International Airshow 2008, which opened Monday, marks the 60th anniversary of the aviation show and, according to the organizers, this year’s event is the biggest in terms of exhibition space and exhibitor numbers. (