Agusta westland :A Success Story in Turkey

Date: Issue 14 - January 2009

AgustaWestland boasts a longstanding and fruitful presence in Turkey through both multiple sales of various fixed and rotary-winged commercial and military aircraft models and with industrial cooperation and partnership. Collaboration between the company and the country in the helicopter field in fact dates back to the early sixties, with the company honoured by supplying contracts agreed with the Turkish Land Forces, the Turkish Air Force, the Turkish Navy as well as the Turkish Gendarmerie. In addition to commercial opportunities, AgustaWestland had also the occasion to participate in the Turkish aviation?s growth by collaborating with Tusas Aerospace Industries (TAI) in the past (local production of the SF260 airplanes). Initial incredible success in the rotorcraft sector saw the company receiving orders for more than 150 AB204/AB205/AB206 type units in ?70s through to ?90s by the Turkish Land Forces, the Turkish Air Force as well as the Turkish Gendarmerie while the Turkish Navy purchased 18 AB212s in ?80s.

Another major step was performed when the Turkish Under Secretariat for Defence Industries awarded AgustaWestland a contract for the procurement of a total of 15 AB412EP Search and Rescue helicopters for Coast Guard Command between 1998 and 2004. The helicopters have been tasked to perform search and rescue mission and carry out other missions such as enforcement of fishing treaties, drug interdiction, environmental monitoring, tactical and logistic transport. The helicopter for the Turkish Coast Guard have been equipped with a 360 degree search radar, infrared and daylight cameras, a 4 axis AFCS with auto-hover capability, doppler and gps navigation systems, a rescue hoist with a capacity of 600 lbs, high intensity searchlights and other equipment needed for search and rescue activities. Industrial collaborat?on between AgustaWestland and the Turkish industries has been further expanded through this contract providing a customized solution and by ?nstall?ng Turk?sh systems on the Coast Guard hel?copters.

Such relationship has been enhanced in March 2004 by starting cooperat?ng with TAI also on one of the most advanced AgustaWestland?s products: the AW139 med?um tw?n hel?copter. A contract was signed allowing TAI to manufacture the fuselage of such new generation medium twin helicopter which has rapidly become the best selling in the world market in its class. By this cooperation on one of AgustaWestland?s most advanced products, AgustaWestland has set the basis for a successful long term relationship.

A key milestone in the collaboration between AgustaWestland and Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) was set in March 2007 when the AW129 was selected to meet the Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter (ATAK) requirement of the Turkish Land Forces Command and the related contract was signed in September 2007. In accordance to the agreement, TAI is the prime contractor while additional leading Turkish aerospace companies such as Aselsan are being involved in the programme with significant industrial benefits for Turkey, including local final assembly, delivery and acceptance of the aircraft. Turkish industry is being enabled to provide the T-129 with total support capability. The partners have formed the ATAK TEAM to develop the specifically designed T-129 variant. The ATAK programme represents the beginning of a new endeavour in AgustaWestland partnership with the Turkish armed forces and the Turkish aerospace industry, a new course in this relation which AgustaWestland has envisioned, planned, and executed with SSM with the aim to build in Turkey a modern helicopter industry to better satisfy the need of the Turkish armed forces while enhancing the technological capability of the overall Turkish defence industry. Through the ATAK programme AgustaWestland is committed to transferring its know-how to the Turkish industry so making this relationship evolve into a strategic partnership.

By the ATAK programme the collaboration with the Turkish aerospace industry has been extended to the core of the helicopter technology represented by a complex system integration which will make the T-129 the most advanced in its category, so satisfying the requirement of the land forces as well as making it very appealing to the international market where the Turkish industry will be able to play a primary role. In collaboration with AgustaWestland, TAI has defined the operational and functional requirements specifications of the ATAK Helicopter. As part of this, TAI is responsible for managing ASELSAN?s workshare, which includes designing the hardware and software (including software integration) of the ATAK Mission Computer and procurement of all mission systems, including weapon systems. TAI is also responsible for harmonizing the program as a whole and managing the agreements reached with its subcontractors.

In accordance with the work share agreed upon with AgustaWestland, TAI shall carry out final assembly and flight operations, component and sub-assembly production, detail parts and electrical harness fabrication, tool/fixture design and production for parts included in TAI manufacturing workshare, support and test equipment procurement for parts included in TAI manufacturing workshare and fabrication and assembly of structural/electrical components unique to the ATAK Helicopter. TAI shall also commit to the final design and performance of the helicopter to SSM. TAI shall also provide active participation to the engine replacement, Automatic Flight Control System and Air Vehicle Management System modification activities taking place at AgustaWestland facilities. The planned duration of the ATAK Program is 114 months from Contract Effectivity with T-129 ATAK Helicopter qualification planned for 58 months and delivery of the first serial production helicopter planned for 60 months after Contract Effectivity. Delivery of the first 7 helicopters to the customer will be once every two months, with the remaining helicopters being delivered once a month, with the last ATAK Helicopter being delivered to the customer at 114 months from Contract Effectivity.

For the purpose of better supporting its expanding and already relevant presence in Turkey as well as managing the Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter (ATAK) programme, AgustaWestland opened its new regional business headquarters in Ankara in May 2008. The regional business headquarters is tasked to follow any AgustaWestland interest in the military government and commercial market. Transferring AgustaWestland?s know-how to the Turkish industry through the ATAK programme is making this relationship evolve into a strategic partnership able to foster mutual benefits in the future.

The incoming next Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme represents a new opportunity to expand such partnership to offer Turkey the most technologically advanced and competitive aircraft. In order to meet such requirement, AgustaWestland in fact is offering a new generation, multi-purpose, 8 ton medium class 18 seats military helicopter able to answer a growing demand for the next generation, affordable helicopter in the medium twin category.