AW169 has maiden flight

May 14, 2012 at 9:57 AM

CASCINA COSTA DI SAMARATE, Italy, May 14 (UPI) -- The prototype of AgustaWestland's new AW169 helicopter has completed its maiden flight for assessment of handling and basic systems.

The AW169 is a twin-engine, multi-role aircraft in the 4-ton class. The company said it performed as expected.

Among its planned uses are law enforcement missions and search-and-rescue operations.

"The AW169 is the only new-generation helicopter in its category to be launched in decades so this is an important milestone for the continued enhancement of AgustaWestland's product range and for the development of our family of new generation helicopters," said AgustaWestland Chief Executive Officer Bruno Spagnolini.

"With both the AW169 and AW189 now flying and the AW139 established as the market leader in it class, we are able to offer the market the most advanced range of helicopters across the 4- to 8-ton weight classes in the shortest possible timescales.

"Operator will for the first time ever, in the helicopter market, be able to benefit from the advantages of a family concept of three new generation helicopters," he said.

The aircraft was launched at the Farnborough International Air Show in Britain in July 2010. The company has orders for more than 50 of the aircraft. It is expected to receive civil certification in 2014.

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