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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » September 30, 2011
Italy in Poland
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Flying High
September 30, 2011   
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Italy and Poland have been partnering in the aerospace sector for a long time, particularly through the well-established and strong relationship between Polish helicopter manufacturer PZL-安idnik SA and the Anglo-Italian rotorcraft company AgustaWestland.

The acquisition of PZL- 安idnik SA by AgustaWestland in early 2010 set a major milestone, bringing together prime European helicopter companies. AgustaWestland can leverage on the long-established capabilities and expertise of the Polish company in designing, developing and producing high-quality products and technologies in the helicopter field. In addition to the existing manufacturing of various AgustaWestland helicopter models’ fuselages in 安idnik, such an acquisition has allowed AgustaWestland to expand its presence in Central Europe, strengthen its global industrial footprint and broaden its product range.

AgustaWestland was created by the merging of two helicopter companies with long and rich histories dating back to the formative days of aviation manufacturing in the early 20th century. Agusta’s and Westland’s pedigree as helicopter manufacturers (in Italy and the UK respectively) dates back to the 1950s when both companies took strategic decisions to move into rotary-wing aircraft production.

Agusta and Westland first collaborated in the 1960s, when Westland started license production of the Agusta AB47G, better known as the “Sioux.” Starting in 1964, Westland built 250 of these small helicopters at Yeovil, southwest England.

The relationship between Agusta and Westland evolved for more than 20 years through collaboration on the development and production of the 16-ton multi-role EH101. This association provided the platform which enabled the two companies to conclude a rapid and effective integration when Finmeccanica S.p.A. of Italy and GKN plc of the UK signed an agreement for the formation of a 50:50 joint venture company named AgustaWestland in 2001. In December, 2004 Finmeccanica acquired GKN’s 50-percent stake in AgustaWestland.

AgustaWestland today is a powerful force in the world helicopter industry capable of satisfying market demand by offering a wide commercial/military product range encompassing all main weight categories with a full variety of missions. R&D represents an important commitment to improve existing products as well as to develop innovative solutions. All this is combined with an excellent level of support in order to deliver total customer satisfaction. Providing unmatched capabilities rather than mere platforms is a distinctive AgustaWestland characteristic. Products range from the SW-4 1.8-ton single engine to the AW101 16-ton three-engine helicopter. Other products include the AW109 Power, AW109 LUH and GrandNew light-twin, the T129 combat helicopter, the multi-role Super Lynx 300 and AW159, the best-selling AW139 medium twin, the W-3 medium twin, the AW609 Tiltrotor and the NH90 11-ton. The AW149, AW169 and AW189 recently launched helicopters further expand the product range. Products share the same commitment to quality, innovation and effectiveness. AgustaWestland is actively participating in a number of joint ventures and collaborative programs with major European and American aerospace and defense companies as well as partnerships with other firms worldwide. This cooperation network has contributed to expand product range and increase market share and opportunities. AgustaWestland is focused on supporting its customers to reduce the costs of ownership while improving operational capabilities. To achieve this, the company is working with its commercial and military customers to provide a range of innovative support and training solutions.

PZL-安idnik SA was established in 1951. The company manufactured control surfaces and wings for Mig-15 fighter jets through to 1954 when PZL-安idnik SA started license production of the SM-1 (Mil Mi-1) helicopter. The SM-2 piston-engine modified version was produced in large numbers—close to 1,800 units were manufactured. The company then started the production of a turbine engine variant of the light twin SM-2 in 1964, manufacturing around 5,500 helicopters. This platform was also the basis for developing the PZL Kania model. PZL-安idnik SA later developed its main type, the Sok馧, a medium twin 6.4 ton-class helicopter suitable for a range of roles including VIP/corporate transport, firefighting, aerial work, EMS/SAR, law enforcement and military duties. In 1994 the ISO9001 Quality System was implemented. In 2000 the company was granted an AQAP-110 (NATO standard) Quality System Certificate and a Certificate of Recognition of the company’s production and design capabilities in accordance with JAR 21 part G and JA. Thanks to its experience, environmentally-friendly modern technologies as well as the implemented quality assurance system conforming to ISO 9001, PZL-安idnik SA began to cooperate with leading companies such as AgustaWestland, Eurocopter, ATR, Latecoere, Dassault, Ratier-Figeac, Snecma, Boeing and Pilatus, manufacturing various components including fuselages and components, center wing boxes, door mechanisms, control surfaces and fire protection linings. Fuselages for various AgustaWestland models have been manufactured, for example at the PZL-安idnik SA plant. The latest product is the 1.8 ton class single engine SW-4, whose mass production started in 2003.
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