AgustaWestland has signed key agreements to equip the AW609 tiltrotor aircraft with engines, avionics and a flight control system.
Pratt & Whitney Canada will provide an upgraded and modernised version of the PT6, long considered a standard engine for general aviation and business turboprop aircraft.
Rockwell Collins has been selected to provide a fully-integrated glass cockpit, based on the Pro Line Fusion, which will provide pilot aids such as synthetic vision, global positioning system navigation and a heads-up display. With the new avionics, the AW609 will be capable of single-pilot flights under instrument flight rules conditions. The new cockpit will be installed on the fourth airframe, which is scheduled for flight in 2014.
BAE Systems will build an upgraded flight control computer, crucial to the aircraft's safety and performance.
AgustaWestland finalised its full acquisition of the AW609 programme from Bell Helicopter in November 2011, allowing the programme to move forward.
Two aircraft are currently flying and have flown 700h to date, completing roughly 85% of the flight test regime, according to AgustaWestland. Two additional aircraft are in production and the third will fly at the end of 2012, while the fourth is scheduled to fly in 2014.
While the company has signed preliminary agreements for 70 aircraft, no orders will be firmed until 2014, when AgustaWestland has worked out a price point and delivery schedule.