Italian helicopter manufacturer Leonardo (formerly AgustaWestland) has confirmed an announcement by the Algerian Ministry of National Defence (MND) that the two will form a joint company to build helicopters in Algeria, writes David Donald. It will be owned 51 per cent by the MND and 49 per cent by Leonardo. A facility will be established at Aïn Arnat to manufacture three unspecified AgustaWestland light and medium helicopter types.
As well as building aircraft, the company will be responsible for after-sales services such as repair, overhaul and training on behalf of the MND and others. The industrial venture will also support the development of Algeria’s high-technology capabilities in the aerospace sector, including electronics and the use of composite materials.
An industrial trade and partnership agreement was signed on 11 August. The concept of in-country manufacture was raised as part of an earlier deal that has seen at least 78 AgustaWestland helicopters delivered to Algeria for service with the air force, navy, gendarmerie, national police service and civil security agency.
Helicopters produced by the new factory will be used for “transport, medical evacuation, surveillance and control”.