AgustaWestland Opens New Dedicated T129 Facility
May 29, 2009 – AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce the opening of its new T129 facility in Cascina Costa, Italy.
By Melissa Damota
May 29, 2009 – AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce the opening of its new T129 facility in Cascina Costa, Italy. The official opening ceremony was attended by delegates from the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), Turkish Land Force Command and Turkish General Staff as well as industry representatives from Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI) and Aselsan.
The T129 programme is on schedule and on budget, and has already successfully completed a System Requirements Review in January 2009 while the Preliminary Design Review is ongoing. The new dedicated facility, staffed by more than 70 Turkish and AgustaWestland integrated team technicians, comprises an assembly area for the T129 prototypes as well as office space for the T129 team members. The entire facility has been designed to bring together the integrated team into a single location to enable all industry partners to work together in a highly efficient manner.
The T129 programme represents a new endeavour between AgustaWestland and Turkish aerospace industries with the aim to develop in Turkey a modern helicopter industry to satisfy the future requirements of the Turkish armed forces as well as enhancing the technological capabilities of the Turkish defence industry. Through the T129 programme AgustaWestland is transferring its know-how to its Turkish industrial partners to make the T129 the most advanced helicopter in its class, so satisfying the requirement of the Turkish Land Forces as well as making it very appealing to the international market where Turkish industry will play a primary role.
The first T129 helicopter demonstrator (P1) is planned to fly in Italy soon, followed by P2 and P3 prototypes in 2010. P4, the first TAI aircraft, is scheduled to be delivered to TAI early next year for final assembly in Turkey and will be used to achieve military certification for the full T129 configuration. Aircraft P4 will then be delivered to the Turkish Army as the first production helicopter. The programme also includes a second TAI assembled prototype, P5, which will fly in the first half of 2011.
The AgustaWestland AW129 was selected to meet the Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter (ATAK) requirement of the Turkish Land Forces Command in March 2007 leading to contract signature in September 2007. In accordance with the contract, TAI is the appointed prime contractor while AgustaWestland and Aselsan are the main sub contractors. In addition many leading Turkish aerospace companies are also involved in the programme with significant industrial benefits for Turkey, including local final assembly, delivery and acceptance of the aircraft. The partners have formed the ATAK TEAM to develop the T129.