AgustaWestland signs South Korean partners

Sept. 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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SEOUL, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- AgustaWestland has signed partnership agreements with Firstec, a supplier of defense and security systems, and Dodaam Systems, which develops training systems for the defense sector.

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, said it signed the memorandums of understanding with both firms as the first step in providing dedicated service and training centers for military helicopters in South Korea.

Geoff Hoon, AgustaWestland's managing director for international business, said the MOU's cover integrated logistics support and training services.

In particular, the agreements provide opportunities for AgustaWestland to deliver through-life support to operators such as the South Korean navy, said Hoon, who was the United Kingdom's Labor government defense secretary from 1999-2005.

Services under the agreement include maintenance and repair, spare parts inventory management for military helicopters and a series of dedicated training solutions to the military services.

Firstec, founded in 1975 and based in Changwon, designs and manufactures firing, guidance and actuation systems as well as test and inspection equipment for land, sea and air use. Products include throttle and air data systems, control display units, fuel systems and fire extinguishing systems.

Firstec has been involved in the design of South Korea's T-50 jet fighter trainer, including development of a simulation flying system and the manufacture of cockpit panels, joysticks and switches, a company statement said.

The T-50 is built by Korea Aerospace Industries and is South Korea's first indigenous supersonic aircraft. It entered active service with the air force in 2005.

DoDaam Systems, which has headquarters in Seoul and is a spin-off from Korea Aerospace Industries, designs and manufactures simulators as well airborne digital video recorders for military aircraft and unmanned surveillance systems. DoDaam also has incorporated video technology into its Super aEgis unmanned robotic gun turret.

AgustaWestland has offered its latest AW159 helicopter, still under development, for South Korea's Maritime Operational Helicopter competition.

The AW159 is a derivative and multi-role variant of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter that is designed for battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles.

The AW159 also is designed to operate off the deck of small ships under a wide range of weather conditions.

In January South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration said it is seeking bidders for the MOH $1.5 billion, 36-aircraft deal, a report by Shepherd Media, a defense aerospace news website.

Possible candidates are the Bell AH-1Z SuperCobra, Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow and the Eurocopter Tiger, Shepherd Media said.

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