Finmeccanica, Tata JV will make helicopters in India

The joint venture will produce the AW119, a reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter, for the Indian military.

Finmeccanica SpA, Italy’s biggest defense company, and India’s Tata Sons Ltd. have announced a joint venture (JV) to produce helicopters in India as that country boosts military spending. Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland unit and Mumbai-based Tata expect to deliver their first AW119 helicopter in 2011, AgustaWestland said in a statement. Tata will own 74 percent of the joint venture, it said.

The venture will be a supplier for the current reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter program of the Indian armed forces, for which AgustaWestland has already proposed the AW119 to be manufactured in India, the statement said.

“Establishing an AW119 final assembly line in India will allow us to meet the growing demand in the world market for a modern, single-engine helicopter,” Giuseppe Orsi, AgustaWestland’s CEO said. The JV will “further expand our presence in India, where we see strong future business opportunities,” Orsi said.