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Leonardo-Finmeccanica comments on Algerian helicopter venture

An AW139 helicopter.Leonardo-Finmeccanica has announced that it has signed an agreement with Algeria’s defence ministry to establish a joint venture company to manufacture helicopters, its first official confirmation on the agreement.

Leonardo-Finmeccanica made the announcement on 9 September, saying the agreement was reached on 11 August.

“The agreement foresees the establishment of a joint company to produce light and medium weight category helicopters at an industrial site in Aïn Arnat. After the completion of the facility and during the early years of activity, the joint company aims to manufacture three different AgustaWestland helicopter types for various uses including transport, medical evacuation, surveillance and control,” Leonardo-Finmeccanica said.

The joint company will also benefit from a local and international distribution network and after-sales services including a range of repair and overhaul capabilities and training solutions for the Algerian Ministry of National Defence and other customers.

The industrial programme will also support the development of high technology capabilities in the field of aeronautical material production, according to Leonardo-Finmeccanica.

Algeria’s defence ministry last month said Algeria will own 51% of the helicopter manufacturing facility and Leonardo-Finmeccanica the rest.

According to a report published by North African defence news network Mena Defense in April 2015, the setting up of the helicopter plant was part of the deal signed between the Algerian government and Italian defence equipment manufacturer Leonardo-Finmeccania for the delivery of AgustaWestland helicopters to Algerian security forces in 2011.

Over the past few years, the Algerian Air Force, Presidency, Gendarmerie, Marine, Police Service and civil protection units have acquired large numbers of AgustaWestland helicopters. The company has sold at least 78 helicopters to the North African country worth around $1.3 billion.

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