Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Phila police seek helicopters; NE Phila plant wants to build them

AgustaWestland bids to build city air force

Phila police seek helicopters; NE Phila plant wants to build them

The AW119Kx helicopter. (Photo from agustawestland.com)
The AW119Kx helicopter. (Photo from agustawestland.com)

AgustaWestland, which builds helicopters for corporate, local-government and other civil-aviation users at its plant near the Northeast Philadelphia Airport, says it's put in a bid to build its glass-cockpit model AW119Kx to sell to the Philadelphia Police Department "as a part of their recent procurement process." UPDATE: This particular ship is a new line with an improved cockpit, but the company says it sells for about the same as the existing AW119K3 model, which industry sources say retails for around $3.6 million.

AgustaWestland, owned by Italy's Finmeccanica, calls the model "a spacious top-of-the-range single-turbine helicopter" that provides "high productivity" and "enhanced safety" at "a competitive price." Features include "synthetic vision,' the "Highway in the Sky" moving map, pre-programmed terrain and obstacle data, thermal-sensing camera to see people behind walls, searchlight, radio, the works.  

Can the Department be prevailed upon to buy local? “It is our hope that the Philadelphia Police Department will not only recognize that our aircraft provide superior safety and operational features at a competitive price, but also the cost saving advantages AgustaWestland can provide in terms of maintenance and technical support on site, right here in Philadelphia,” said the company's sales chief, Bob Brant, in a statement. AgustaWestland says it employs more than 560 assembling the AW119Kx and model AW139s, parts, maintenance, customization, and delivery for other models.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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