MILAN, July 29 (Reuters) - Italian defence group Leonardo expects to obtain certification for its AW609 prototype aircraft in 2018, the group said in a presentation to analysts on Friday.
Testing on the aircraft, which is being developed by Leonardo’s AgustaWestland helicopter unit, is set to begin again soon. One of the prototype AW609 aircraft crashed last October killing two pilots.
Italy’s flight safety agency recommended in July that aerodynamics and software changes should be made to the prototype after the accident. Certification means the aircraft is approved to operate.
The AgustaWestland AW609 is a twin-engined tilt-rotor aircraft that can take off, land and hover like a helicopter, but flies like a fixed-wing aircraft, giving it greater speed and range than conventional helicopters.
At the Farnborough Air Show, Leonardo CEO Mauro Moretti said he did not see any delay in the originally envisaged delivery times of the aircraft. (Reporting by Alberto Sisto and Giulia Segreti. Editing by Jane Merriman)