ROME, June 26 (UPI) -- The first ICH-47 Chinook assembled in Italy by AgustaWestland for the Italian Army has completed its maiden flight.
Under a Joint Industrial Agreement Boeing Rotorcraft Systems builds the fuselage for the ICH-47F at a facility in Pennsylvania while AgustaWestland is responsible for systems integration, final assembly and aircraft delivery to the Italian Army.
AgustaWestland is also being qualified by Boeing to produce the aircraft's entire drive systems.
The agreement also contains a licensing agreement that allows AgustaWestland to market the helicopter to other countries.
"This is an exciting moment for us and our customer," said Alessandro Parrini, senior vice president of AgustaWestland's Italian Government Business Unit. "The Italian Army will soon fly the latest variant of the proven heavy-lift platform that will give it new capabilities.
"This maiden flight confirms that the strategic partnership between the company and the service is providing a significant contribution to the modernization of the Italian Army helicopter fleet."
Italy has 16 customized aircraft on order, with an option for four more. The first ICH-47F is scheduled for delivery to the service early next year.