AgustaWestland NV is a British-Italian multinational helicopter design and manufacturing company, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Finmeccanica. It was formed in July 2000 when Finmeccanica and GKN merged their respective helicopter subsidiaries (Agusta and Westland Helicopters) to form AgustaWestland, with each holding a 50 % share. Finmeccanica acquired GKN’s stake in AgustaWestland in 2004.
The Italy-based Finmeccanica and the United Kingdom-based GKN first announced their intention to merge their respective helicopter subsidiaries, Agusta and Westland Helicopters, in March 1999. Finmeccanica and GKN announced finalised terms for the merger in July 2000, which included a 50:50 ownership structure, and the payment of top-up fees to GKN to compensate for a disparity in profit levels between Agusta and Westland.
In January 2002, AgustaWestland announced that it would be cutting a total of 950 jobs in the United Kingdom and closing its factory in Weston-super-Mare, which carried out customer support work, as activity was concentrated at its main site in Yeovil.
On 26th May 2004, GKN confirmed that it had agreed to sell its share of AgustaWestland to Finmeccanica for £1.06 billion.The sale was approved by the British government in October 2004.
AgustaWestland opened offices in Philadelphia in 2005, and won a contract to build the new presidential helicopter Marine One over the U.S. manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft, but this program was canceled in 2009. In November 2005 it was announced that AgustaWestland had agreed to acquire Bell Helicopter’s 25 per cent interest in the AB139 medium twin helicopter program, and to increase its interest in the BA609 civil tiltrotor aircraft from 25 per cent to 40 per cent.
In June 2008, AgustaWestland and the Russia-based helicopter manufacturer Russian Helicopters agreed to form a new joint venture company to assemble AW139 helicopters in Russia.Construction of a $50 million helicopter assembly facility in the town of Tomilino near Moscow began in June 2010.
In early 2010, AgustaWestland acquired PZL-Świdnik, a Polish helicopter manufacturer.
In September 2012, AgustaWestland and Northrop Grumman announced the signing of a comprehensive teaming agreement under which the companies will jointly bid for contracts to build the U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue helicopter and U.S. Navy’s new “Marine One” presidential helicopter.
In March 2013, AgustaWestland announced its Project Zero hybrid tiltrotor/fan-in-wing technology demonstrator. The unmanned demonstrator made its first tethered flight in June 2011 at AgustaWestland’s Cascina Costa, Italy facility. According to the company, the aircraft “employs no hydraulics, doesn’t burn fossil fuel and generates zero emissions.”
India cancelled the US $630 million deal with AgustaWestland in January 2014. The decision to annul the 2010 deal, being probed by CBI for irregularities, came after a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister AK Antony in New Delhi. The government cancelled the contract “on grounds of breach of the Pre-contract Integrity Pact and the agreement by AWIL (AgustaWestland International Ltd).” The contract was frozen in February 2013 after allegations surfaced that US $60 million was paid as a bribe.
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