Leonardo’s helicopter division has secured another order for its AgustaWestland AW189 super-medium rotorcraft from RN-Aircraft, a subsidiary of oil giant Rosneft.
The deal for 20 AW189s follows a similar pact announced in July 2015 for 10 examples of the 8.3t helicopter.
However, the majority of the latest batch will be the first of the GE Aviation CT7-powered rotorcraft to be produced by Moscow-based HeliVert at its Tomilino plant. Deliveries are due to begin in 2018.
Originally a 50-50 joint venture between Leonardo and Russian Helicopters assembling the AW139, the partners agreed to restructure the shareholding last year to admit Rosneft to the venture. Leonardo now holds 40%, with other parties each owning 30%.
Leonardo Helicopters says it plans to assemble an initial 13 helicopters for RN-Aircraft at its main Vergiate, Italy, factory with the remainder then built at HeliVert.
But, it says that if AW189 assembly can be ramped up more quickly in Russia, then those proportions may change.
HeliVert needs to obtain production certification for the new type before work can commence, however, a milestone previously scheduled for this year.
RN-Aircraft’s orders derive from a 2014 framework agreement with Rosneft where it indicated it could take as many as 160 AW189s in the period to 2025.