Aerospace, new deals for Leonardo MD Helicopters, Mi Helicopters, Proteus Advanced Systems
Italy's Leonardo decided to bring back the historic Agusta brand for the direction of corporate and VIP helicopter technology, maintenance and customization of interiors. The company expects the historic brand to be synonymous with technology, luxury and style, alongside Italian car legends such as Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini.
“By using the Agusta name, we give our VIP operators a strong brand that they recognize and identify with,” explained Gian Pierro Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters. “Recognition of the Agusta brand heritage continues to live on in this market segment.”
The Agusta name merged with Westland in 2000 when Finmeccanica acquired the British helicopter manufacturer and the two companies merged into one. In 2016, Finmeccanica changed its name to Leonardo and the AgustaWestland brand ceased to be used, although the helicopter models retained the AW index.
MD Helicopters & Lebanon
The US reportedly donated six newly built MD Helicopters MD 530G light attack helicopters to the Lebanese Air Force under a military assistance program, delivered to Beirut on October 6 aboard a Boeing 747-400F cargo aircraft. The helicopters were donated as part of a US $ 120 million military aid package to Lebanon announced by the United States in 2017, which also includes the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle UAV. Photo (c) Lebanese Air Force
Mi Helicopters & Bangladesh
Bangladesh will purchase Russian Mi-171A2 helicopters. The Economic Affairs Committee, chaired by the Minister of Finance Mustafa Kamal, approved the purchase of two Mi-171A2 helicopters for the police of the Republic of Bangladesh
Proteus Advanced Systems & Estonia
On October 6, 2021, the State Defense Investment Center of the Estonian Ministry of Defense (Riigi Kaitseinvesteeringute Keskus - RKIK) signed a contract with the Israeli-Singaporean company Proteus Advanced Systems Pte. Ltd. (a joint venture of the Israeli company Israel Aerospace Industries and Singapore's ST Engineering Land Systems Ltd.) for the purchase of Blue Spear (5G SSM) anti-ship missiles for the Estonian armed forces to equip promising coastal missile systems. Blue Spear is the de facto Proteus Advanced Systems branded Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) new Israeli Gabriel 5 anti-ship missile, and IAI has confirmed the signing of the contract with the Estonian side.
Estonia became the first known customer for Blue Spear (5G SSM) missiles. The creation of a joint venture Proteus Advanced Systems for the joint production and sale of Gabriel 5 missiles under the Blue Spear brand was announced in the summer of 2020, and it was initially expected that this project is focused primarily on the Singapore Navy, as well as other countries of Southeast Asia, however data on the purchase of Blue Spear missiles by the armed forces of Singapore is not yet available.
Recall that a year ago, the defense budget for 2021 approved by the Estonian government in the amount of 645 million euros (2.3% of the country's GDP) included a program to strengthen the defense of the Estonian coast, including the acquisition of coastal anti-ship missile systems and sea mines by 2026. It was reported that the program was estimated at 50 million euros (which, apparently, implies the acquisition of one battery of the coastal SCRC) and was supposed to take from 24 to 36 months. It is reported that the contract for the purchase of sea mines with an unnamed supplier was signed in the summer of 2021, and now the turn has come to the acquisition of coastal anti-ship missiles.