Thursday, February 14, 2013

Indian purchase of 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters under scrutiny

India has instructed the country's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the purchase of 12 AW101 helicopters from the Anglo-Italian AgustaWestland. The $752 million contract was signed in 2010 and the aircraft involved are the Very Very Important Person (VVIP) variant of the AW101.

The Italian police have arrested Giuseppe Orsi, the chairman and chief executive of Finmeccanica, on February 12. Bruno Spagnolini, the chief executive of AgustaWestland, which is a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, has also been placed under house arrest.

Both cases are thought to be related to allegations of bribery connected to the purchase of the 12 AW101 by India, which is now under investigation. The Indian Defense Ministry has stated that the contract may be cancelled if corruption and illegal payments are involved.

The AW101 or Merlin in some countries, was formerly known as the EH101 and in addition to the VVIP variant comes in a military transport and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) variant.

Crew: 2
Length: 22.83 m
Height: 6.66 m
Rotor diameter: 18.60 m
Max cruise speed: 278 km/hr
Max takeoff weight: 15600 kg
Max range: 1058 km (VVIP)
Max endurance: 5 hours and 10 minutes (VVIP)
Powerplant: 3 Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01 turboshafts, 1566 kW / 2100 shp each

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