AGUSTA HOPES ALMOST to double production of its A.109 twin-turbine helicopter when deliveries of the new A.109 Power begin in mid-1996. The present A.109C and "hot-and-high" K2 will remain in production alongside the Power, and the Italian manufacturer hopes to increase production from the recent level of 20-25 annually to 40-45 a year.

Agusta is still studying the market for the A.119 Koala single-engine derivative of the A.109, unveiled at the Paris air show in June, but believes that it could deliver at least 20-25 of these helicopters a year, starting at the end of 1996.

The Power and A.119 share a new four-blade main rotor developed by Agusta. The fully articulated rotor-head features a titanium hub with composite blade-grips and single elastomeric bearings replacing the three mechanical bearings on each arm of the original A.109 rotor. The new rotor head is 30% lighter, less costly and requires less maintenance, the company says.

Agusta has logged 70h on the Power prototype displayed at Paris in June. Certification is scheduled for the end of 1995. The aircraft is powered by two 475kW (640shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206Cs, allowing unrestricted use over urban areas and in harsh environments, the company says.

The manufacturer has reduced the price of the A.109C, to create a differential of some $500,000 between it and the $2.7 million Power. The A.119 Koala will cost $1.5 million.

Source: Flight International