AgustaWestland has accomplished its long-rumoured acquisition of Bell Helicopter's BA609 civilian tiltrotor, now called the AW609.

"The acquisition fits with AgustaWestland's strategy of new products for dual use, commercial and parapublic aircraft," said AgustaWestland chief executive Bruno Spagnolini.

The announcement was made a day after AgustaWestland unveiled its new AW189 dual-use eight-tonne twin, an 18-seat helicopter that has Eurocopter's soon-to-be certificated EC175 squarely in its sights.

Bell Agusta BA609
 © Bell Agusta

Along with the two flying AW609 prototypes, one at Bell's facilities in Texas and the other in Italy, the deal includes all assets and drawings from Bell, but no intellectual property related to the military's Bell-Boeing V22 tiltrotor.

The deal calls for Bell to continue providing engineering support and building "thick laminates" and prop rotors for the type.

Bell will also receive a licensing fee for each AW609 sold, said Bell chief executive John Garrison, who added that the sale will allow Bell more freedom to develop advanced tiltrotor technologies and focus more on its commercial line of helicopters.

One flying AW609 prototype is currently located at each facility, with two additional prototypes in production in Italy. AgustaWestland says it will continue the Texas operation since the vectored thrust aircraft will be certificated first in the US.

The arrangement must gain regulatory approval from the US and Italy, an action neither company thought would be problematic.

Source: Flight Daily News