Bristow Helicopters has teamed with AgustaWestland to work together on a number of development areas with the AW609 TiltRotor, including search and rescue dedicated configurations and capabilities. The two companies announced signature of the AW609 platform development agreement on March 3 at Heli-Expo in Orlando, Florida.
In addition to SAR variants, Bristow will work with AgustaWestland on offshore oil and gas support configurations for the AW609. The two will also address concepts of operations, regulations, maintenance, configuration optimisation and possible areas of enhancement or modifications to the type.
Although under development for some years, the AW609 has taken something of a back seat until now. With more than 1,100 flight hours logged by two prototypes and two more aircraft in production, the programme is now moving forward, with the aim of gaining FAA certification in 2017. Almost 60 customers worldwide have already selected the AW609 for roles including offshore transport, patrol and SAR, executive/private transport and government roles. Alan Warnes