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Helicopter contract will bring jobs to Washington Co.

November 20, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- An aerospace company is adding employees in Washington County because of a $17.35 million U.S. Navy contract.

The contract calls for AgustaWestland North America, which has an 88,000-square-foot maintenance repair and overhaul facility at Hagerstown Regional Airport, to refurbish three Egyptian helicopters.

In a news release, AgustaWestland says it will work on three Mk-2 variant H-3 helicopters.

The work is expected to be completed by December 2010, the news release says.

AgustaWestland, which is owned by Finmeccanica of Italy, said it expects to hire as many as 20 new employees for the project. They will join the 26 employees now working for the company at the airport north of Hagerstown.

Dan Hill, an AgustaWestland vice president, said the U.S. Navy provides defense equipment to allies through a Foreign Military Sales program.

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Now, Egypt is having its helicopters refurbished.

He said AgustaWestland made the three Mk-2 variant H-3 helicopters in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. That type of helicopter no longer is manufactured.

The U.S. Navy flew those helicopters for about 50 years and recently retired them, Hill said.

He said AgustaWestland has been under contract for the last year or so, surveying what needed to be done. Now, it will do the work.

"AgustaWestland North America is honored to receive this contract from the U.S. Navy," CEO R. Scott Rettig said in the news release. "I am proud of our team and our close working relationship with the U.S. Navy. I look forward to future growth and successes of our Hagerstown operations, as we continue to expand our U.S. footprint and meet the specific needs of the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense."

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