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Leonardo Helicopters
Industry Helicopter
Predecessor Agusta
Westland Helicopters
Founded 2000
Headquarters Rome, Italy
Key people
Daniele Romiti (Chief Executive Officer)
Products Helicopters
Revenue 4,243 million (2012)[1]
€473 million (2012)[1]
Number of employees
12,500 (at 31 December 2015)[1]
Parent Leonardo S.p.A. (known as Finmeccanica before 31 December 2015)
Subsidiaries PZL-Świdnik

AgustaWestland (branded as Leonardo Helicopters since January 2016[2]) is an Italian helicopter design and manufacturing company.[3] It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leonardo S.p.A. (previously Finmeccanica).[4] It was formed in July 2000 as an Anglo-Italian[5] multinational company, when Finmeccanica and GKN merged their respective helicopter subsidiaries (Agusta and Westland Helicopters) to form AgustaWestland,[6] with each holding a 50% share. Finmeccanica acquired GKN's stake in AgustaWestland in 2004.


The Italy-based Finmeccanica and the United Kingdom-based GKN first announced their intention to merge their respective helicopter subsidiaries, Agusta and Westland Helicopters, in March 1999.[7] Finmeccanica and GKN announced finalised terms for the merger in July 2000, which included a 50:50 ownership structure, and the payment of top-up fees to GKN to compensate for a disparity in profit levels between Agusta and Westland.[8][9]

In January 2002, AgustaWestland announced that it would be cutting a total of 950 jobs in the United Kingdom and closing its factory in Weston-super-Mare, which carried out customer support work, as activity was concentrated at its main site in Yeovil.[10]

On 26 May 2004, GKN confirmed that it had agreed to sell its share of AgustaWestland to Finmeccanica for £1.06 billion.[11][12] The sale was approved by the British government in October 2004.[13]

AgustaWestland opened offices in Philadelphia in 2005, and won a contract to build the new presidential helicopter Marine One over the U.S. manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft, but this program was canceled in 2009.[14] In November 2005 it was announced that AgustaWestland had agreed to acquire Bell Helicopter's 25 per cent interest in the AB139 medium twin helicopter program, and to increase its interest in the BA609 civil tiltrotor aircraft from 25 per cent to 40 per cent.[15]

Qinetiq AgustaWestland AW109E Power arrives for the 2014 Royal International Air Tattoo, England

In June 2008, AgustaWestland and the Russia-based helicopter manufacturer Russian Helicopters agreed to form a new joint venture company to assemble AW139 helicopters in Russia.[16] Construction of a $50 million helicopter assembly facility in the town of Tomilino near Moscow began in June 2010.[17][18]

In early 2010, AgustaWestland acquired PZL-Świdnik, a Polish helicopter manufacturer.[19]

In September 2012, AgustaWestland and Northrop Grumman announced the signing of a comprehensive teaming agreement under which the companies will jointly bid for contracts to build the U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue helicopter and U.S. Navy's new "Marine One" presidential helicopter.[20]

In March 2013, AgustaWestland announced its Project Zero hybrid tiltrotor/fan-in-wing technology demonstrator. The unmanned demonstrator made its first tethered flight in June 2011 at AgustaWestland’s Cascina Costa, Italy facility. According to the company, the aircraft “employs no hydraulics, doesn’t burn fossil fuel and generates zero emissions.”[21]


India signed a contract to purchase 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters in February 2010 for the Communication Squadron of Indian Air Force to carry the president, PM and other VVIPs. Controversy over the contract came to light on 12 February 2013 with the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland's parent company by Italian authorities;[22] the following day Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony ordered a probe into the contract.[23]

In January 2014, India cancelled the US$630 million deal with AgustaWestland for purchasing 12 AW101 helicopters meant for use by VVIPs. Following this event, in June 2014 India recovered the entire sum of Rs 1,818 crore which it had paid to the company.[24] The decision to annul the 2010 deal, being probed by the CBI for irregularities, came after a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister AK Antony in New Delhi. According to the Defence Ministry, the government cancelled the contract "on grounds of breach of the Pre-contract Integrity Pact and the agreement by AWIL (AgustaWestland International Ltd)". The contract was frozen in February 2013 after allegations surfaced that US$60 million had been paid as a bribe.[25]The corruption also had in its folds the Indian Navy's, USD 300 million purchase for INS Kalvari (S50), some 98 torpedoes from WASS (a Finmeccanica/Leonardo company), which was suspended.[26]


Model First flight MTOW Description
Agusta A129 Mangusta 11 Sep 1983 4.6t attack helicopter
TAI/AgustaWestland T-129 28 Sep 2009 5t A129 development with TAI
AgustaWestland AW101/EH101 (Merlin) 9 Oct 1987 14.6t three-engine
AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant 31 May 2000 14.6t AW101 Canadian air-sea rescue designation
Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel 3 Jul 2007 14.6t cancelled USMC Marine One AW101 VIP variant with Lockheed Martin and Bell Helicopter)
AgustaWestland AW109 4 Aug 1971 2.85t eight seats twin-engine
AgustaWestland AW109S Grand 1988 3.175t AW109 stretch
AgustaWestland AW119 Feb 1995 2.72t eight seats single-engine
AgustaWestland AW139 3 Feb 2001 7t 15-seat twin-engine (former Bell/Agusta AB139)
AgustaWestland AW149 13 Nov 2009 8.6t medium-lift military helicopter
Westland Lynx 21 Mar 1971 5.33t military helicopter
AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat 12 Nov 2009 6t Lynx development
AgustaWestland AW169 10 May 2012 4.8t 10-seat twin-engine
AgustaWestland AW189 21 Dec 2011 8.3t twin-engine
AgustaWestland AW249 2025 7t attack helicopter, A129 replacement
AgustaWestland AW609 6 Mar 2003 7.62t tiltrotor (former Bell/Agusta BA609)
AgustaWestland Project Zero Jun 2011 hybrid tiltrotor/fan-in-wing demonstrator
NHI NH90 18 Dec 1995 10.6t twin-engine military helicopter (NHIndustries is 62.5% Eurocopter, 32% AgustaWestland and 5.5% Fokker)
PZL W-3 Sokół 16 Nov 1979 6.4t twin-engine
PZL SW-4 29 Oct 1996 1.8t single-engine
Agusta-Bell 412 Aug 1979 5.4t licensed twin-engine
AgustaWestland Apache 30 Sep 1975 9.5t GKN-Westland license of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, 67 built for the British Army

See also

Comparable major helicopter manufacturers:


  1. ^ a b c "Key information". AgustaWestland. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Mark Huber (May 5, 2016). "AgustaWestland Rebranded Again, Now Leonardo Helicopters". AIN. 
  3. ^ "Philly factory to begin producing new chopper". 
  4. ^ "Finmeccanica meeting approves new name, 'Leonardo'". Ansa News. 
  5. ^ Profile on
  6. ^ "Finmeccanica: al via riassetto AgustaWestland (MF) -". 8 July 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Westland helicopter merger flies". BBC News. 18 March 1999. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Westland merger confirmed". BBC News. 26 July 2000. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "GKN wins 'top-up' merger payments". The Telegraph. 27 July 2000. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "Westland closes factory". BBC News. 10 January 2002. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "GKN sells its stake in Westland". BBC News. 28 July 2004. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "GKN sells AgustaWestland stake". The Guardian. 28 July 2004. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "AgustaWestland sale to go ahead". BBC News. 6 October 2004. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Gates outlines military spending overhaul". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Bell to sell helicopter program stake to AgustaWestland". Flight Global. 22 November 2005. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Russia, Italy to assemble AW139 helicopters in Moscow region". RIA Novost. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "Russia, Italy to build helicopter assembly facility". The Voice of Russia. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "Italian, Russian Firms to Build Helicopter Factory". The Moscow Times. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  19. ^ Gazeta Wyborcza article from Feb. 2, 2010 [1]
  20. ^ "Northrop Grumman, Finmeccanica team up for US helicopters". Reuters. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  21. ^ "AHS - Sample Vertiflite article: Project Zero". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  22. ^ Emilio Parodi and Stephen Jewkes (12 February 2013). "Finmeccanica head arrested over India bribe allegations". Reuters. 
  23. ^ "VVIP chopper deal scam: Italy arrests Finmeccanica CEO, India orders CBI probe". ZEE News. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  24. ^ "India recovers Rs 1,818 crore from AgustaWestland". Mail Online. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  25. ^ "Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal with AgustaWestland scrapped in view of bribery allegations". 
  26. ^ Lightweight and Heavyweight Torpedoes, and Anti-Torpedo Countermeasure Systems[2][3][4]

External links

  • Official website
  • AgustaWestland section of Helicopter History site

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