Finmeccanica Helicopters has unveiled a new name and a pair of critical upgrades for civil variants of the SW-4 light single produced by its Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik.
Now referred to somewhat confusingly as the AW009 – despite not being produced by AgustaWestland – the manufacturer will also add a new avionics suite and potentially an uprated engine to the 1.8t platform.
Addressing the media ahead of the Heli-Expo show in Louisville, Daniele Romiti, divisional managing director, says US Federal Aviation Administration certification of the upgrades is targeted for mid-year. European approval would follow around one year later.
The glass cockpit will be provided by Genesys Aerosystems and is common to the larger AW109 Trekker, its skid-equipped light twin.
No decision has yet been made on the engine enhancement, although Romiti says this could be “in parallel” with the avionics change.
The AW009 is currently powered by a 450shp (336kW) Rolls-Royce M250-C20 turboshaft which would be replaced by the 650shp-rated -C30 variant if the upgrade proceeds.
“It is the same family of engine. It will be quite effective as it brings more power,” says Romiti.
Other modifications to the helicopter include changes to its flight characteristics to improve comfort and cut vibration, as well as increasing control authority, says Romiti.
He believes the aircraft will be ideally suited to EMS operations, police duties and private operators in the US.
Finmeccanica Helicopter intends to retain the SW-4 designation for the military market.