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New Helicopter Completes Test Flight

The first locally made AW139 flying over the Moscow region in December.

A twin-engine AW139 helicopter assembled in Russia at HeliVert, a joint venture between Russian Helicopters and Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland, successfully completed its maiden flight, and a second AW139 is due to be in operation by next month.

The AW139 remained in the air for 37 minutes during a Dec. 19 test run at a Moscow region helicopter plant in the town of Tomilino, Russian Helicopters said in a statement on Tuesday.

It passed a series of scheduled tests approved by Russia's aviation authorities and is undergoing a further flight test program, the statement said.

Russian Helicopters said its Tomilino plant is one of the most advanced of its kind in Russia and that its goal is to meet growing demand in the domestic and CIS markets.

It expects to produce up to 20 such helicopters annually and employ more than 100 people at the plant once maximum output is reached.

The multipurpose AW139 is being assembled in locally under an agreement signed at a November 2008 ceremony attended by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The AW139 is used by armed forces, search-and-rescue teams and private individuals in countries from Italy to Malaysia. It has a maximum cruising speed of more than 300 kilometers per hour and can fly for up to five hours without refueling.

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