AGUSTAWESTLAND to build AW609 in Philadelphia
On March 3, Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland announced expansion of the AW609 TiltRotor program industrial operations, designating AgustaWestland Philadelphia as the first final assembly line.
The start of the production phase, in anticipation of FAA civil certification in 2017, is a major step forward for the program.
Integration of the global AW609 TiltRotor program into AgustaWestland Philadelphia operations represents an expansion of the site’s engineering and supply chain capabilities.
Company facilities in Italy, the United Kingdom and Poland will continue to play critical roles in the production of the commercial AW609 TiltRotor as well.
Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland announced that the AW609 TiltRotor program has achieved key milestones, initiating the production phase in anticipation of the first customer deliveries.
The company has expanded the AW609 TiltRotor program to include the AgustaWestland Philadelphia facility through its designation as the first final assembly line for the only civil tiltrotor in development to date. A second final assembly line is expected to be established at AgustaWestland’s Vergiate facility in Italy at a later date.
The involvement of AgustaWestland Philadelphia in the AW609 program represents the anticipated progression towards assembly and certification with the FAA as the main certification authority. The move signifies an expansion of the capabilities present at AgustaWestland Philadelphia, particularly in the engineering and supply chain functions.
AgustaWestland currently has two prototypes undergoing flight testing with a third in final assembly. The first prototype aircraft will continue flying at the AgustaWestland facility in Arlington, Texas in parallel with FAA Certification support work at AgustaWestland’s Philadelphia facility. The fourth prototype will be assembled in Philadelphia in 2016.
Full integration of the AW609 program into AgustaWestland Philadelphia’s operations is expected by third quarter 2015, and will include facility expansions as required to accommodate the AW609 TiltRotor engineering, certification, and aircraft assembly activities.
The AW609 aircraft have so far logged nearly 1,200 hours, with achievements over the past year that include successful completion of envelope expansion, autorotation trials, and improvements in aerodynamics and aircraft systems. Nearly 60 aircraft have been ordered to date for a variety of roles and missions, including offshore transportation, EMS and patient transfer, search and rescue, VIP, and parapublic operations.
AgustaWestland Philadelphia, AgustaWestland’s center of operations for production, sales, customer support and training across the Americas, operates out of a 275,000 square foot facility, on a 39-acre site at Northeast Philadelphia Airport in Pennsylvania. The facility also includes final assembly lines for the AW119Kx and AW139 helicopters, a parts supply depot for the Americas and a fully approved FAA and JAA repair station.
As announced in 2013, AgustaWestland Philadelphia will also serve as one of two worldwide production sites for the newest addition to the AW Family of products, the new-generation AW169. AgustaWestland Philadelphia also performs helicopter customization, has a delivery center for AW109 Power and GrandNew aircraft, and provides maintenance services for customer aircraft. Over 560 people are currently employed by AgustaWestland Philadelphia and this will increase as a result of this announcement and the expansion of other activities.