Leonardo and the Algerian Ministry of National Defence have established a joint venture for the local assembly, sale and support of Leonardo helicopters.
Announcing the joint venture on 25 March, Leonardo said that it will own 49% while the Algerian defence ministry will own the other 51%. Headquarters will be in a new facility at Ain Arnat in Setif Province.
The helicopter initiative has been in the works since August 2016 when a memorandum of understanding was signed for helicopter production. According to a report published by 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 for the delivery of AgustaWestland helicopters to Algerian security forces in 2011.
Leonardo said the joint venture is planned to assemble, sell and support several helicopter models, primarily to meet Algeria’s national requirements, but also for the export market. In addition, the joint venture will provide the end users with technical support, maintenance and training services and capabilities.
“The establishment of the joint venture marks a major achievement in the solid collaboration with Algeria that Leonardo has strengthened in years. This result demonstrates the Company’s reliability as a partner, and its capability to meet demanding requirements and deliver high quality, advanced products. Leonardo is now ready to support Algeria’s plan to play a significant role in the industrial aeronautical sector,” the company said.
Over the last decade Leonardo has supplied nearly 100 helicopters to different Algerian government departments, including the Algerian Air Force, Presidency, Gendarmerie, Marine, Police Service and civil protection units. This includes eight AW101s, 24 AW109s (ten for the Police and 14 for the Gendarmerie), eight AW119 Koalas for pilot training, 20 AW139s (six for the Civil Protection Department, 11 for the Air Force and three for the Navy) and ten Super Lynx for the Navy.