India's Foreign Investment Board has approved the establishment of a joint venture between India’s Tata group and AgustaWestland, to carry out integration and flight testing of eight-seat AW119 helicopters.

Sources inside Indian Rotorcraft say that they are optimistic of winning sales of civil and military versions in India, despite the bribery scandal that has resulted in the suspension of an AgustaWestland contract to supply 12 VVIP AW101s to the Indian defence ministry, and seen several executives of parent company Finmeccanica lose their jobs during an Italian prosecution of the affair.

Indian Rotorcraft is believed to be a candidate to supply the Indian defence forces’ reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter programme with an Indian-manufactured military version of the AW119.

The joint venture will be established at the GMR Aerospace Park special economic zone at Rajiv Gandhi international airport in Hyderabad. The facility is expected to start operations in April 2014.