Paris, France (June 21, 2011) – Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT) announced today at the Paris International Air Show, that AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, has agreed to purchase Bell’s ownership interest in the BA609 tiltrotor program, a Bell-AgustaWestland joint venture. Bell Helicopter will remain the key supplier of engineering services and key components to the program.
“Both companies agree it is the best business decision for AgustaWestland to take ownership of the program with Bell Helicopter serving as the key engineering and component supplier,” said John L. Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter. “This decision will free up research and development resources allowing Bell Helicopter to increase our investment in the revolutionary V-22, to develop the next-generation tiltrotor technologies for U.S. Department of Defense programs and other applications, as well as increase our investment in our innovative commercial product line,” he said.
Bell Helicopter plans to continue to increase its research and development investments over the next five years for its commercial product line and for next generation tiltrotor technologies. As part of its continued commitment to further evolving tiltrotor technologies, Bell-Boeing has acquired a V-22 Osprey for ongoing development.
The V-22 Osprey, produced by a Bell-Boeing strategic alliance, with its revolutionary tiltrotor technology is fielded by both the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command and the U.S. Marine Corps and has provided unmatched performance as the Osprey can fly twice as fast and three times as far as any conventional helicopter. The V-22 Osprey has completed over 110,000 flight hours and has received the highest safety rating for any tactical rotorcraft in the Marine Corps.
The agreement is subject to obtaining requisite regulatory approvals and does not include the transfer of V-22 tiltrotor technologies.
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