Bell/Agusta AB139 Achieves FAA Certification

December 20, 2004

Ft. Worth, TX - December 20, 2004 - Setting new standards for speed, range, safety, versatility, and comfort, the AB139 medium twin, a product of the joint venture Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company, is one of the most significant and exciting developments in recent rotorcraft history. It is truly the benchmark for all modern aircraft on the market. The aircraft was today awarded FAA Certification. Ground and flight testing was completed at the Agusta facility in Cacina Costa, Italy and at the Honeywell facility in Phoenix, Arizona. High altitude trials were conducted in Colorado, while hot weather tests were conducted in Palm Springs, California and cold weather tests in Corunna, Sweden.

 In June 2003 the AB139 achieved initial ENAC (Italian Airworthiness) IFR certification with a three screen digital cockpit. To enhance overall cockpit management, a four-screen cockpit has been introduced and the AB139 has now been awarded full IFR certification by ENAC/EASA and the FAA to cover day and night IFR. The four-screen Honeywell Primus Epicã Electronic Flight Instrumentation System provides decreased pilot workload and enhances the overall capabilities of the AB139.

The existing Primus Epicã architecture has remained the same but new state-of-the-art Honeywell systems have been added. The initial standard configuration contained Radio Management Units for tuning the radio frequencies with no additional capability. In the latest iteration, two Multifunction Control Display Units (MCDU) with an integrated Flight Management System (FMS) have replaced these Radio Management Units. The AB139 FMS includes a GPS and provides extensive capability to the flight crew providing multiple tools to develop flight plans, manage single or multiple missions and tune radio frequencies. In addition to the FMS, visibility and accessibility in the cockpit have also been improved by adding an additional 4th LCD display. Now both the pilot and the co-pilot have an independent means of interfacing with the aircraft systems and functions via their own Cursor Control Device (CCD), a simple joystick used for navigating the screens. With two screens per crew, failures of a display will be managed with even greater ease. In the unlikely event of a failure of the Multifunction or Primary Flight Display, a single composite screen will be shown on the remaining functioning display with the combined pertinent data from both screens. Both sides of the cockpit will be capable of this through swift execution of automatic reversion.

The AB139 is a JAR/FAR 29 certified aircraft with benchmark performance and a superior cockpit. Certification flying demonstrated that the AB139 has lower operating costs and higher productivity than any competitive aircraft in its 5 to 8 tonne class. These productivity advantages are all achieved while providing Category "A" (Class 1) performance without payload loss at maximum take-off weight.

Currently, final assembly of the AB139 is in Italy at Agusta's Vergiate plant, near Milan. However, a U.S. assembly facility in Texas will commence in 2005, with the completion and delivery of the first U.S. aircraft in first quarter 2006. Bell/Agusta Customer Service Centers (CSC) will be strategically located throughout the world to provide spare parts, tools and maintenance services. Customers will be supported with the most effective training programs available using computer based training, flight simulators and maintenance training devices.

Currently, Bell/Agusta has an order book of over 80 aircraft slated for more than 40 customers world-wide. To date, AB139s have been delivered to Elilario, an Italian helicopter public transport company; the government of Namibia; and the Aga Khan Development Network for ferrying personnel and material for construction of university campuses in Central Asia.

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, with primary operations in Cascina Costa, Italy, Yeovil, United Kingdom, and Philadelphia, USA, is a commercial enterprise, offering an unrivaled range of products designed to satisfy the most diverse requirements of civil and military customers. With turnover exceeding $2.5 billion, AgustaWestland is committed to delivering outstanding products and services in globally competitive markets.

Bell Helicopter, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., is a $1.6 billion, leading producer of commercial and military helicopters, and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce of over 8,300 employees serves customers flying Bell aircraft in over 120 countries. Textron Inc. is a $10 billion multi-industry company with more than 43,000 employees in nearly 40 countries. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others. More information is available at

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David Rosenberg, Vice President, Investor Relations
(401) 457-2288
Kyle Williams, Manager, Investor Relations
(401) 457-2288

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