Leonardo Helicopters has secured another partner for its AW609 programme, signing up Malaysia’s Weststar Aviation to assist with the service entry of the civil tiltrotor.

Like a previous agreement with launch customer Bristow Group, Weststar will contribute its expertise to assist with the definition of missions and operational requirements for the AW609 in Southeast Asia.


Source: Leonardo Helicopters

Tiltrotor is closing on certification

Weststar will receive a single aircraft for the trials, although it is not yet decided whether this will be loaned or sold to the company, says Leonardo Helicopters managing director Gian Piero Cutillo.

“It will be a joint investment in this maturity process so we get their expertise in the market so we understand how it works.”

Delivery could come as soon as next year, depending on how soon US Federal Aviation Administration can be secured; Leonardo Helicopters currently foresees the milestone as occurring next year.

Although there are only seven confirmed orders for AW609 – one for Weststar, two for Bristow and four to an undisclosed VIP operator – Cutillo also sees “strong interest” in the platform from Italy for “government applications”.