AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, announces that it has signed agreements with three key suppliers for its AW609 TiltRotor program. These three agreements form part of a succession of contracts signed with AW609 TiltRotor component suppliers since AgustaWestland acquired the tiltrotor programme in November 2011. These latest agreements signed with Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems are a major milestone in the programme for development and certification of the AW609 TiltRotor.
AgustaWestland remains committed to certification of the AW609 TiltRotor through FAA and EASA within the first half of 2016 with deliveries immediately thereafter.
Pratt & Whitney Canada will provide an upgraded version of the PT6 engine for the AW609 TiltRotor which will include the latest in technological developments and provide the aircraft with increased performance capabilities as well as the latest safety enhancements.
Rockwell Collins will provide a fully integrated cockpit for the AW609 TiltRotor based on its Pro Line Fusion system, allowing AgustaWestland to adopt the very latest in commercial aircraft cockpit technologies, including 14 inch (35.5 cm) touch screen displays, integrated flight management systems with satellite based navigation, synthetic and enhanced vision systems and Head-Up-Display interfaces; all of which will be integrated with the aircraft’s own avionics management systems. This cockpit suite will provide the crew with increased situational awareness and will reduce pilot workload to permit single pilot IFR operations of the AW609 TiltRotor.
BAE Systems will provide an upgraded Flight Control Computer at the heart of the AW609 TiltRotor’s triple redundant fully digital fly-by-wire flight control system. The computer, to receive TSO certification in 2014, will include not only the AgustaWestland control laws and flight control software but also the digital engine control system.
The vendor base of the AW609 TiltRotor is now being renewed, providing opportunities for cost reduction initiatives, upgrades and improvements. AgustaWestland held a presentation to Key Suppliers on July 13 at the home of the AW609 TiltRotor in Cascina Costa, Italy where more than 40 existing and potential new suppliers received an update on the certification program and view the development aircraft.
The AW609 TiltRotor program is now being managed by a single Integrated Development Team, based in Cascina Costa, Italy. The AgustaWestland US subsidiary in Arlington, Texas (AgustaWestland Tilt-Rotor Company) is, since February 2012, the Type applicant for the AW609 TiltRotor and is now fully operational with the first prototype, continuing with envelope expansion activities.
The two flying prototypes have achieved more than 700 flight hours so far and will be joined by two more prototypes to complete the test activities. The flight test program has validated nearly 90% of the AW609’s unique flight envelope including altitudes up to 25,000 feet (thanks to the pressurised cabin), and speeds up to 275 knots, all at the aircraft’s maximum weight. The third prototype, now being manufactured in Italy, will be devoted to icing certification testing while the fourth prototype will be used for the development and integration of new avionics and capabilities.
STOL (short takeoff and landing) procedures are being developed, to permit operations with a significant addition to the VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) maximum growth weight, to further enhance the AW609 TiltRotor’s operational capability for specific applications.
The tiltrotor concept is the answer to the growing need for an aircraft matching the vertical capabilities of the helicopter with the speed, range and altitude capabilities of fixed wing aircraft. AgustaWestland is investing in the next generation of rotorcraft technologies and the AW609 TiltRotor and future tiltrotor concepts are part of the company’s innovation commitment.
Approximately 60 AW609 units have already been ordered so far by around 40 customers in over 20 countries to perform a range of commercial and government roles and AgustaWestland expects significant worldwide market opportunities in the future.