AW169 Floated as Kiowa Helicopter Replacement
AgustaWestland has pitched its new 4.5-ton AW169 helicopter as a possible contender for the U.S. Army’s Armed Aerial Scout program, an official said at the Farnborough International Airshow on July 10.
The AW169 was listed in the firm’s response to a request for information (RFI) issued in April and was due last Monday. The RFI was the second issued for the replacement of the Kiowa helicopters now in the role.
“Twenty months ago we pitched the AW119, this time we focused on the AW169 considering the basis parameters,” said Scott Rettig, CEO of AgustaWestland North America.
AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini said South Korea is another potential customer for a military AW169, since it responds to a requirement, officials said.
The AW169, which is being certified, is part of a “family” of helicopters launched by AgustaWestland, including the AW139 and AW189, which share characteristics. AgustaWestland is marketing the AW169 for civil and military use and now has two prototypes flying.
Looking ahead, Rettig said he expected the suspended competition for a new presidential helicopter would be revived with a request for proposal in 2013 after the presidential elections. “There was a debrief a month ago and there is a budget,” he said.
AgustaWestland previously teamed with Lockheed Martin to offer the helicopter to the White House. The AW101 was picked in 2005, only for the program to be canceled over costs.
“The 101 will be our response,” Rettig said. “I believe they are looking for a helicopter which is designed and developed.”
Separately, an industry source said AgustaWestland has partnered with an unnamed U.S. firm to compete the pending combat rescue helicopter (CRH) contest in the U.S.
The U.S. Air Force is expected to issue an RFP this summer for the CRH competition, which is a successor to the ill-fated Combat Search and Rescue-X program to replace Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawks.
In Italy, AgustaWestland expects to deliver all 10 AW139 helicopters ordered by the Italian Air Force for search-and-rescue missions by year’s end.
Separately, AgustaWestland announced on July 10 it had signed a heads of agreement with Russian Helicopters to develop a new, 2.5 ton-helicopter in Russia.