CASCINA COSTA DI SAMARATE, Italy, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland have signed a memorandum of understanding for a planned order of 20 AW139 helicopters to be assembled in Russia.
The two companies are also establishing HeliVert, a joint venture company that will assemble and deliver to UTair a batch of AW139 helicopters from its Tomilino plant in the Moscow region.
UTair JSC is the largest helicopter service provider to the United Nations.
"We are sure that the replenishment of the company fleet with modern AW139 aircraft will enable UTair to increase the volume of operations by a multi-purpose use of these helicopters and their high level of reliability," said Andrey Martirosov, UTair's chief executive officer. "Continuous modernization of the UTair helicopter fleet and qualification of UTair employees ensure our leading position in the market of helicopter services."
AgustaWestland Chief Executive Officer Bruno Spagnolini said the HeliVert facility will be officially opened in October.
HeliVert's Tomilino plant will have the capacity to assemble up to 20 helicopters per year, with production to start later this year and progressively increase.
UTair Aviation JSC is the world's largest helicopter operator in terms of carrying capacity and number of rotorcraft, with more than 330 helicopters of all classes.
Russian Helicopters JSC is an affiliated company of UIC Oboronprom and manages a number of helicopter enterprises, including the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kamov, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Co., Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, Stupino Machine Production Plant, Reductor-PM and Helicopter Service Co.
The SW139 is a medium, twin-engine aircraft that seats 15 people. It's used primarily for law enforcement, emergency medical service, executive transport, search and rescue, maritime and offshore oil operations.
Its length is about 56.4 feet. Maximum takeoff weight is 14,110 pounds, while its cruising speed is 165 knots.
A heads of agreement between AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters was signed in 2008 for the purpose of establishing a joint venture to set up and run a civil AW139 final assembly line in Russia. This was followed by the Joint Venture Agreement signed Nov. 6, 2008, during the Italy-Russia intergovernmental summit held at the Kremlin in Moscow and attended by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
A shareholder agreement was subsequently signed in June 2010 paving the path to start building the plant in Tomilino.