AgustaWestland says it is pushing ahead with development of its long delayed AW609 tiltrotor after taking full control of the project late last year.
The program, which dates back to 1996, had previously been developed as the BA609 in a joint venture with Bell Helicopters.
Similar to the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey but roughly half its size, the AW609 is targeted for FAA certification in the first half of 2016, AgustaWestland says. The aircraft had previously been planned for certification by 2011.
Agusta says its two prototype aircraft have completed more than 650 flight hours, with work continuing at facilities in Italy and Texas and employing about 500 people in all.
Originally targeted at the government and military market, Agusta has more recently also sought to pitch the AW609 as an alternative to corporate jets and helicopters. The company says it has received around 70 orders from 40 customers.
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