HeliVert, a Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland joint venture, announced the first AW139 helicopter assembled in Russia has successfully performed its maiden flight.
On December 18, 2012, the first AW139 built in Russia, with the tail number 60001, was rolled out at the Helivert assembly plant to perform ground testing. On the following day, December 19, at 16:30 Moscow time the test programme continued with the helicopter’s first lift-off and controlled hover. The new helicopter remained in the air for 37 minutes and completed the scheduled tests approved by Russia’s aviation authorities.The AW139’s first take off and hover was successful, and the helicopter is undergoing the flight test program. The second aircraft (60002) to be assembled by HeliVert is expected to be in operation by February 2013.
HeliVert is located in Russian Helicopters’ National Helicopter Building Centre in Tomilino, Moscow region. The plant was constructed from scratch and is now one of the most advanced facilities of the kind in Russia. According to the plans production of AW139 helicopters in Russia began in 2012. It is expected that up to 15-20 helicopters will be assembled annually. The number of personnel engaged in the production process could exceed 100 once maximum capacity is reached. The plant is intended to meet the growing demand for the AW139 in the Russian market for civil aircraft as well as the CIS market in general.
AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters signed the preliminary agreement to launch the production of AW139 helicopters in Russia at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2008. This was followed by the signing of a joint venture agreement November 6, 2008, at a ceremony attended by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
A shareholder agreement was subsequently signed in June 2010 paving the way to start building the plant in Tomilino. In the summer of 2011, the final agreements on CJSC HeliVert joint venture establishment were signed and early during 2012 specialists from HeliVert studied in Italy at AgustaWestland’s training centre.
This medium multi-role helicopter is superior to all other twin-engine helicopters in its class in terms of speed, flight characteristics and passenger cabin size. Combining streamlined fuselage, latest avionic equipment, spacious cabin and low acoustic signature, AW139 sets a new standard in the market.
The AW139 has a maximum cruise speed of 306 km/h, maximum range in excess of 927 km, maximum flight time of five hours and outstanding performance. It is the only helicopter in its weight class that can be equipped with a Full Ice Protection System (FIPS), which makes it possible to fly into known icing conditions. The AW139 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turboshaft engines, equipped with full-authority digital engine controls (FADEC) and each rated at 1,679 SHP for take-off. The maximum take-off weight is 6400 kg with an option of 6800 kg. The helicopter is configured for one or two pilots and can carry up to 15 passengers or 6-8 passengers in VIP/corporate transport configuration.