AgustaWestland signs Bristow platform development deal
AgustaWestland has signed a platform development deal with Bristow Helicopters that will see the companies cooperate on dedicated oil and gas and search and rescue variants of the tilt rotor.
The company says Bristow will assist with further development of the AW609, especially in the areas of operations, regulations and maintenance. Bristow will also advise the Italian manufacturer on any enhancements or modifications that maybe needed to successfully market the new aircraft.
“We see tremendous opportunities for this aircraft for our clients who are flying to more remote and hostile environments,” said Jonathan Baliff, president and CEO. “With its vertical lift and landing capabilities combined with increased speed, extended range and airline-style amenities, Bristow will be able to provide more value to clients by offering complete logistics solutions with one aircraft type that will take them faster and farther offshore.”
So far, two AW609 test helicopters have joined the certification effort, with a further two aircraft due to join the fleet soon.
AgustaWestland says the first two aircraft have completed 1,000 test flight hours. The company also says it has completed 79 conversions from helicopter to airplane mode.
AgustaWestland is working towards certification of the new tilt-roter aircraft in late 2017, with deliveries to customers in early 2018.