Bell Sells Its AB139 Helicopter Stake to AugustaWestland
Textron’s Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, TX, USA and Finmeccanica subsidiary AgustaWestland of Cascina Costa, Italy announced a realignment of their joint venture Bell Agusta Aerospace Company LLC (BAAC). Bell is selling its 25% interest in the AB139 medium twin helicopter program to AgustaWestland and granting them 100% ownership of all aspects of the AB139 program going forward, in return for undisclosed payments.
The AB139 was recently proposed for the US Army’s $2+ billion Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) competition, where it is going head to head with the Bell 412EP, MDHI Explorer 902, and EADS Eurocopter EC145.
In addition, the realignment allows AgustaWestland to increase its share in the V-22 Osprey-derived BA609 civil tilt-rotor aircraft. That program will remain within BAAC, with AgustaWestland able to increase its current 25% to a maximum of 40% by increasing its investments during the development phase.
The two companies also remain partnered on other programs, including a licensed version of the Bell 412 and the US101 Presidential helicopter program. See full corporate release.