Italy's AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters have set up a joint plant outside Moscow, the first of its kind in Russia.
The final assembly plant will roll out AW139 medium twin civil helicopters and "will allow Russia to gain access to new technical production solutions and high helicopter servicing quality standards," Oboronprom's General Director Andrei Reus said. "We will seek to broaden our cooperation, including the gradual localization of Italian helicopter manufacturing in Russia."
Denis Manturov, Russian Deputy Industry and Trade Minister, said that the $50 million investment into the plant was evenly split between the Russian and Italian companies, and the plant is expected to assemble 20 helicopters a year. The first five AW139s will be produced by the end of 2011.
The plant will be managed by a joint venture called HeliVert. 40% of the assembly parts will be produced in Russia and the rest in Italy by 2016.
Several Russian industry analysts said that assembling AW139 in Russia can boost competition among the Russian helicopter makers, but it is difficult to predict whether this competition will improve their effectiveness. Leading Russian helicopter-making companies Kamov and Mil will face tough domestic competition against the model that was developed abroad under superior production standards.
Oboronprom, a state-controlled holding of which Russian Helicopters is a subsidiary, and AgustaWestland signed a memorandum of understanding in 2007 for a strategic cooperation between both parties.