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Boeing, Augusta team up for US Presidential Copter Programme

The AW101 medium-lift helicopter. An AugustaWestland Photo

RIDLEY PARK (BNS): US defence major Boeing will acquire a license from European helicopter manufacturer AugustaWestland to produce the AW101 medium-lift helicopters for the US Navy.

The new helicopters will be produced as an entry into the US Navy's VXX Presidential Helicopter Programme, Boeing announced on Monday.

The license will give Boeing full intellectual property, data and production rights for the aircraft in support of the VXX programme. Because of this arrangement, the aircraft will be a Boeing aircraft, built by Boeing personnel at one of its US facilities, the company said in a statement.

Boeing will submit the information in response to the Navy's current Request for Information by the June 18 deadline, the statement said.

If selected, Boeing will become the prime contractor for the Presidential Helicopter Programme and will design, build and deliver the choppers, it said.

Another US defence giant Lockheed Martin has also put its bid to produce the helicopters.

The AW101 is a three-engine, medium-lift helicopter with combat capabilities. The aircraft is equipped with advanced avionics and mission systems and its major armaments include anti-ship missiles, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes.

Specifically designed to ferry VVIP heads of states, the multi-role helicopter can also be used for troop transport, casualty evacuation, tactical and amphibious support, combat SAR, disaster relief, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, airborne mine countermeasures, long range search and rescue, maritime interdiction and airborne surveillance and area control.

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