AgustaWestland Selects Bell Helicopter as Airframe Manufacturer for US101 Production
WASHINGTON, DC, 15-MAY-03 -- AgustaWestland announced today that it has reached agreement with Bell Helicopter, a Textron Company, of Fort Worth, Texas to form a Joint Venture company to manufacture the US101 helicopter in America The Joint Venture company will act as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin which, as prime contractor and systems integrator, will have overall responsibility for the program and delivery of the US101 helicopter to the customer.
The US101 is the American version of AgustaWestland's EH-101 helicopter, widely considered to be the most advanced medium lift helicopter in production today. With over 36,000 hours of accumulated flight time, the EH-101 has been selected by five NATO countries and Japan for 21st century helicopter requirements. Variants are in service in the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Japan, performing a variety of missions, from search and rescue to maritime surveillance, battlefield support, law enforcement and civil operations.
UK Royal Navy Merlin MK1 variants were deployed in the Gulf in support of coalition forces, and RAF Merlin MK3 helicopters were recently deployed to Bosnia for peacekeeping roles.
The US101 will be built in America to fulfill the US Government's 21st century helicopter requirements of the United States Air Force and Coast Guard in their search and rescue missions, and the Marine Corps as an executive transportation replacement for the 30-plus-year-old Marine One helicopter.
Stephen C. Moss, President of AgustaWestland Inc. referred to the selection of Bell as the perfect partner to join Team US101. It will be great to have the prestige and professionalism of the Bell team to build this helicopter in the U.S.
The US101 is a spacious helicopter that can be configured for whatever mission is required - from submarine surveillance to executive transport, said Moss. It is a very versatile helicopter with an excellent safety record and can carry 30+ combat troops quickly over long distances.
The selection follows the naming of Lockheed Martin as the prime contractor and systems integrator for US101 last year. Lockheed Martin, Bell and dozens of subcontractors will provide significant employment throughout the United States. The US101 will contain over 65 percent American content. The basic aircraft will be manufactured by the Joint Venture company, with mission customization, systems integration, and final aircraft delivery being accomplished at Lockheed Martin's Owego, NY facility.
We are delighted to add Bell Helicopter to Team US101, said Frank Meyer, President of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego. With the selection of Bell as the domestic manufacturer, the US101 aircraft is ready to serve America's heroes.
Glenn Hess, President and Chief Operating Officer of Bell Textron, said he was very proud to be joining this team and being able to participate with AgustaWestland and Lockheed Martin in meeting the U.S. Government customers' requirements. He hailed AgustaWestland as an innovative aircraft company that has been a great partner with Bell for almost 50 years.
Bell and Agusta currently are partners in building the AB139, a new light medium twin-engine helicopter, and the BA609, the world's first civil tilt rotor aircraft. When the U.S. Government requires a modern medium lift helicopter, we will be positioned to immediately respond to their requirements, he said.
An EH101 Merlin Mk3 deployed from the UK Royal Air Force is currently in the USA to provide orientation flights for members of congress, the military and the media. The aircraft will be on static display at the Joint Services Open House at Andrews AFB, May 17-18, and at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Patuxent River, MD, and Quantico Marine Base, VA.
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego is the corporation's helicopter center of competence, providing advanced technology products, services and systems integration solutions for defense, civil and commercial customers worldwide. Located in upstate New York, Systems Integration - Owego employs more than 3,900 people at facilities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
AgustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian Helicopter Company jointly owned by Finmeccanica of Italy and the UK's GKN, is firmly established as the leading player in the world helicopter market with revenues of EUR 2,722 million. The company offers an unrivalled range of products designed to satisfy the most diverse requirements of civil and military customers. Committed to delivering outstanding products and services, AgustaWestland is capable of supporting wide-ranging missions in globally competitive markets. AgustaWestland has its primary operations in Cascina Costa, Italy, and Yeovil, United Kingdom. AgustaWestland Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of AgustaWestland and is located in Arlington, VA.
About Bell Helicopter
Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc., is a $1.6 billion, leading producer of commercial and military helicopters, and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce of over 7,000 employees serves customers flying Bell aircraft in over 120 countries.