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Full stop or full steam ahead?

Posted 14 May 2019 · Add Comment

Wildly contradictory reports surround the status of Algeria’s ambitious plans to build large numbers of AgustaWestland AW109s, AW139s and AW101s in a new factory at Ain Arnat in Setif province, currently home to the 9 Regiment d’Hélicopteres d’Entrainment.

Some reports suggest that production is due to begin imminently, while others say that the Leonardo defence group’s plans have come close to stalling in Algeria, and that hope is running out for local production.
Leonardo, itself, remains tight-lipped about all aspects of its business in Algeria. “I’m afraid that we can neither comment on the joint venture (JV) status nor of the Algerian helicopter fleet,” a spokesman said, though earlier this year, Leonardo’s new commercial director, Lorenzo Mariani, confirmed that the JV was ongoing. “In Africa we are present in Algeria, where we are creating a JV,” he said.
Leonardo has delivered around 88 helicopters to Algeria over the past decade, plus eight W-3 Sokols from its Polish AgustaWestland Swidnik (previously PZL Swidnik) subsidiary.
It is estimated that these 88 helicopters have included two VVIP-configured AW101 Mk 642s, 15 AW109LUHs, 11 search-and-rescue (SAR)-configured AW139s and 10 AW119 Mk II Koala training helicopters.
The navy has received six AW101 Mk 610 SAR helicopters, four AW139s, four Super Lynx Mk 130s and six Super Lynx Mk 140s.
The gendarmerie has received 14 AW109LUHs, and the Unité Aérienne de la Sûreté Nationale (UASN – police air wing) 10 more, while the Protection Civile received six AW139s.
The first phase of a programme to acquire additional helicopters was supposed to cover the supply of 15 AW109 LUH helicopters to the Gendarmerie Nationale, and 10 to the UASN, with five AW139s being delivered to the Protection Civile.
It is not clear as to whether these were supposed to be additional to the 20 AW109s that were actually delivered to the police and gendarmerie.
The second phase was supposed to include the delivery of 10-15 AW101s for the Gendarmerie Nationale and the third to see 27-32 AW101s and 15 AW109 LUH helicopters being assembled locally with further local assembly of the AW109LUH (and perhaps of the AW139) to meet UASN and Protection Civile requirements.
 

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