Monday, February 18, 2013

Amid Controversy India, AW in UK Attempts To Broaden Its Business

Graham Cole's drawing of a three-leg milking stool may not Represent the finest of British art, purpose it helps the chairman of AgustaWestland's UK helicopter operations get across his Post that the company's future depends on Adding trading and export markets to a business dominated Declining by British defense orders.

A five-year endeavor transforming the strategy and efficiency of the Yeovil-based arm of Italian helicopter maker AgustaWestland into a wider-based business is revitalizing a company That Had an uncertain future here in 2010. That's when the Ministry of Defence to ax Threatened year order for the AW159 Wildcat for the Army and Navy as share of budget cuts.

That challenge was Fought off, and last month, the UK arm of the Finmeccanica-owned company secured the first export order for the Wildcat multirole helicopter from South Korea. The initial order is for eight machines, company executives say the goal total Could approach 40.

DESPITE the success, Yeovil's prospects are clouded again due to another potential cancellation. The Indian government last week to cancel Threatened year order for 12 AW101 helicopters VIP being built at the factory. The cancellation follows accusations of Threatened corruption in the deal by top executives at Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland in Italy.

Three AW101s, sometimes Referred to as the Merlin icts in military variant, Have Already Delivered beens and the remainder of the order is scheduled to be handed over from the Yeovil assembly site by the end of the year.

India is the company 's largest customer for VIP AW101s and a key portion of the drive to keep the Yeovil AW101 assembly line busy.

Aside from India, a recent tour of the factory Yeovil Showed Either on the other machine flightline or in the assembly hall for heads of state in Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan.

Briefing reporters Feb. 5 before the arrest in Italy of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland boss Bruno Spagnolini, the managing director of the helicopter company's UK operations, Ray Edwards, Said the company saw the VIP market as a big opportunity and HAD beens putting considerable efforts into That sector of the market.

Yeovil now houses the only AW101 assembly line, and aside from the VIP machinery the factory aussi year working on order for combat-search-and-rescue helicopters for the Italian military.

The market is pretty tough for AW101, though, and Edwards Admitted he would "love to dream We Could [assemble] one a month."

Exports aussi Have Been Boosted by year requirement for six Algerian Lynx SL300S. Assembly starts in May and will add to earlier AW101 Lynx and orders.

On the business side, the assembly schedule are executives of the AW189, in anticipation of a possible order to meet a British requirement for a government search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter.

Yeovil is set to assemble all versions SAR AW189 on the frame, and Produce the blades and transmission parts for other variants of the 8-ton machines built by AgustaWestland elsewhere.

"Conservative Estimates are for exports of more than 200 SAR-configured machine Generating one billion two pounds [$ 3.1 one billion] back over the next 10 years," Cole said.

Yeovil aussi is working on other civil activities, Including the AW169 and the AW609 tilt-rotor aircraft.Assembly of about 10 AW189s for the Department for Transport will result in the first trading helicopter to emerge from the factory since the ill-fated 30 Westland line closed in 1987.

"To get Where we are today in the UK depended on a massive Increase in efficiency, it depended on convincing colleagues in Italy shoulds That We undertake civil and other work, and it depended on us winning more military exports. It's been quite a challenge, "Cole Told reporters falling on a briefing at the Yeovil site.

That efficiency is leading turnaround Edwards, who arrived three years ago Effective stints at Airbus and AgustaWestland in Italy.

Jobs Have Been Cut, Improved infrastructure, processes and profit margins changed more than Doubled in a UK Business That Has Seen 100 million pound growth over the three years to 2011, When back Totaled 1.1 billion pounds.

Five years ago, the MoD more than 75 element Represented percent of the company's business, much of it Relating to innovative fly-by-the-hour support contracts. That mix is ​​changing Already.

Edwards Said he Would be satisfied with the UK MoD accounting for about 50 percent of revenues, with sales taking a 30 percent share and the remainder military exports.

In part, the decline in UK MoD military business Reflects Reduced Spending.

"The MoD Remains a strong underpinning in what we do here," he said. "I do not want people to go away with the thought we are now a commercial helicopter company, we are not."

The MoD has recently Revealed 1.12 one billion pound helicopter procurement and budget holder for the next 10 years. Spending is included on the Wildcats 62 AgustaWestland is building for the British military, and a Substantial upgrade of 30 Merlin (AW101) for the Royal Navy Mk1s Already on the modification line.

Other MoD Opportunities coming up for the company include 25 Optimizing battlefield lift versions of the Merlin for amphibious lift duties with the Royal Marines and a Plan to update the Existing British Army Apache fleet and further Top media work.

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