Italian Air Force prepares for ten AW139s and twelve AW101s

Italian Air Force prepares for ten AW139s and twelve AW101s

21-Dec-2010 Source:

The Italian Air Force has launched an ambitious program to replace some its fleet of SAR helicopters, in particular its Agusta-Bell 212s.  Valued at 1.2 billion euros, the plan calls for a total of twenty-two new helicopters from AgustaWestland.  The existence of this large order has been not been officially publicised, but Italian journalists at “Il Sole 24 Ore” are quoting their own industry sources.  The twenty-two aircraft consist of ten AW139s and twelve AW101s.  Not all of the aircraft are contracted for at this point in time, and it is believed only the AW139s are so far going ahead with five deliveries expected in each of 2011 and 2012.  Funding will be partially covered by the resources of the Ministry of Economic Development.

In the past, Italy has cross swords with the European Union on its military equipment acquisition process – in particular that it does not publish tender documents for any company to bid for.  Once more, it appears that AgustaWestland was the only helicopter manufacturer invited to bid, and suspects further EU investigations will follow as a result.  It is understood that the Defence Committee gave its approval on 13th October, with the Democratic Party abstaining from voting.

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