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Friday, February 19, 2016

Finmeccanica Re-Brands SW-4 In Latest Name Change Round

Look for Finmeccanica [Booth 6451] to rebrand the light single SW-4 as the AW009 at Heli-Expo as it also advances its plan to operate its various divisions as a united company.

The company also will be emphasizing the capabilities of its helicopters in the air ambulance and VIP markets and shying away from depressed market for offshore oil and gas support.

At Heli-Expo, it plans to display its new AW169 and the AW109 Trekker in air ambulance configurations, as well as a VIP AW169.

But the AW189 and AW139, popular in offshore oil applications, are not expected to be present at the company’s Louisville exhibit.

Likewise, don’t expect to see the AW609 there. The civil tiltrotor also is aimed in large part at the oil market. Program officials are focused on supporting Italy’s investigation of the Oct. 30, 2015, crash of the No. 2 AW609 prototype that killed two test pilots.

On the brighter side, Finmeccanica officials at the show will be highlighting sales prospects for their aircraft in air ambulance applications in China and South America as well as in the U.S.

The SW-4’s name change aligns the branding of the aircraft designed and built by Poland’s PZL Swidnik with that of the other rotorcraft produced by Finmeccanica Helicopters, the label placed in December on AgustaWestland under Finmeccanica’s “one company” initiative.

The SW-4 made its debut at Heli-Expo two years ago under the AgustaWestland banner. That Anglo-Italian company acquired PZL Swidnik in 2010.

The light, single-engine, multi-purpose helicopter that will now bear a “secret agent”-like name was designed to carry up to five people, including pilots, have low operating costs and be easy to fly. As such, it is targeted as an entry-level turbine helicopter.

In the run-up to Heli-Expo, Finmeccanica said it expected its helicopter division to close 2015 with annual revenues and profitability substantially in line with the good results it achieved in 2014, despite a reduction in the contribution of oil and gas segment sales.

The AgustaWestland unit accounts for more than 30% of Finmeccanica’s sales, the company confirmed.

Lockheed Martin, the new owner of Sikorsky Aircraft, and Airbus Group have said their outlooks for helicopter sales and orders are weaker mainly due to the energy sector.

Under the “one company” initiative launched in June 2014 by CEO and General Manager Mauro Moretti, Finmeccanica has centralized its operations. From Jan. 1, the company said, it would become one organization operating in aerospace, defense and security. Finmeccanica will have a new governance and operating model, organized into four sectors and seven divisions, replacing the previous model of a holding company of separately controlled businesses.

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