MOSCOW, January 15 (RIA Novosti) – The first Western helicopter to be built under license in Russia successfully performed its maiden flight last month, its maker HeliVert announced on Tuesday.
The first Russian-built AW139 was rolled out at the Helivert assembly plant on December 18, 2012 to perform ground testing, and began its test program with a first lift-off and controlled hover next day.
“The new helicopter remained in the air for 37 minutes and completed the scheduled tests approved by Russia’s aviation authorities,” said HeliVert, a joint venture between Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland.
A second HeliVert-built AW139 is expected to be in operation by February 2013.
AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters signed a preliminary agreement to launch the production of AW139 helicopters in Russia at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2008. Final agreements on the establishment of HeliVert joint venture were signed in the summer of 2011.
The production of AW139 helicopters at the HeliVert JV at Tomlino outside Moscow began in 2012. The venture is expected to assemble up to 15-20 helicopters annually.
“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,” HeliVert said.
“Combining a streamlined fuselage, the latest avionic equipment, a spacious cabin and low acoustic signature, the AW139 sets new standard in the market. The AW139 has maximum cruise speed of 306 km/h, maximum range in excess of 927 km, maximum flight time of five hours and outstanding performance,” HeliVert added.
The AW139 is powered by two Pratt Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turboshaft engines. The maximum take-off weight is 6,400 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.
The Russian government has already ordered three of the helicopters for security duties by an unspecified agency, AgustaWestland said last July.