Bell Textron, Leonardo MoU on Tiltrotor Technology

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Bell Textron Inc. and Leonardo S.p.A., have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to evaluate cooperation opportunities in the tiltrotor technology domain.

As global leaders in designing, manufacturing, and supporting rotorcraft for commercial and military applications, Bell and Leonardo share a multi-decade history of industrial cooperation on both traditional helicopters as well as tiltrotor technology collaboration.

The cooperative effort will begin in earnest with the NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) Concept Study #5, where Leonardo will take the lead on a tiltrotor architecture proposal with Bell in support.

“This cooperative effort between Bell and Leonardo reflects our shared vision that next generation rotorcraft will be influenced by the speed, range and manoeuvrability only tiltrotor technology can deliver,” said Lisa Atherton, president and CEO, Bell. “We are proud to deepen our relationship with Leonardo as we continue to explore emerging vertical lift programs in Europe and the United States.

Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said “We’re thrilled to evaluate new joint efforts for the next generation of rotorcraft technologies, based on our solid and shared view of the unique advantages of tiltrotors. Leonardo has always firmly endorsed tiltrotor technologies to meet evolving rotorcraft requirements, even more so as new needs emerge in the market.”

Meanwhile, Textron Aviation has delivered a Cessna Grand Caravan EX Amphibian turboprop to Malaysian property developer Ikhasas Sdn Bhd, via its subsidiary company Oriental Sky Sdn Bhd. The aircraft, managed by local charter operator Systematic Aviation Services, will operate the country’s first amphibious aeroplane service, approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia.

The 11-seater amphibian will transport passengers directly from Kuala Lumpur to the Perhentian Islands, reducing travel time and preserving the islands’ environment. Tony Jones, VP of International Sales (Asia-Pacific), highlighted the Grand Caravan’s versatility and economic benefits, emphasising its role in developing sustainable tourism in Malaysia. — adj/iz/mgm (pics: Textron)