AgustaWestland is shifting most manufacturing and assembly work for the A119 Koala from Italy to Philadelphia later this year. Joined by state and local politicians, Agusta and Finmeccanica executives broke ground on a new $12 million facility on 2 March. The factory, backed by a $2 million state assistance package, will adjoin Agusta's existing A109 support centre.

Agusta Aerospace, the company's North American subsidiary, expects to produce 15-20 A119s a year in the 3,700m2 (40,000ft2) facility. AgustaWestland says the move opens new possibilities for expansion within the USA.

The facility could house assembly of the Bell/Agusta Aerospace AB139, due to receive US Federal Aviation Administration certification in June. Some manufacturing work for the US101, the Lockheed Martin/Bell/AgustaWestland aircraft contesting the presidential helicopter competition, may also be in Philadelphia, but final assembly work will be completed at an undisclosed Bell facility in Texas.


Source: Flight International