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Tata, AgustaWestland form JV to assemble AW-119 choppers

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AW119 is a light eight-seat single-engine multi-purpose helicopter. AgustaWestland Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Top Indian company Tata Sons and Italian Defence major AgustaWestland have signed an agreement for formation of a joint venture company here which will establish a final assembly line for AW-119 helicopters for the global market.

The agreement was signed here by Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata and AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi on Tuesday.

The AW-119 has been offered to India by Agusta for army's requirement for 197 choppers to replace its ageing fleet of Cheetha and Chetak light helicopters.

As per the agreement, the new company will be responsible for AW-119 final assembly, completion and delivery while AgustaWestland will be responsible for worldwide marketing and sales, Agusta officials said here.

The first aircraft is scheduled to be rolled out from the new facility in 2011 with production forecast to rise to 30 aircraft per year to meet worldwide demand, they added.

"The establishment of a Joint Venture to set up an AW-119 assembly line in India will provide extraordinary industrial opportunities both in the country and worldwide through the synergies generated by AgustaWestland and Tata Sons," Agutsa CEO Orsi said after the signing of the agreement.

He added that the two companies were exploring further commercial, technical and industrial collaboration opportunities in the rotor craft industry to strengthen their relations.

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