Paris: India will receive the first batch of helicopters contracted for transportation of VIPs from AgustaWestland next year. Of the 12 helicopters contracted for, half the fleet is expected to be delivered by the end of 2012.
The manufacturer said assembly of the first two helicopters has commenced at its facilities in Europe.
AgustaWestland is an Anglo-Italian helicopter company and part of the conglomerate Finmeccania. The company has had a long presence in India.
According to Bruno Spagnolini, chief executive officer, the company considers the Indian order to be a prestigious one.
''We have started assembling the first two helicopters and will be soon moving to begin work on interior design. The helicopters are being made in batches of three, and two batches would be delivered by next year,'' Spagnolini said.
Senior vice-president, Roberto Garavalia, said the entire fleet should be handed over to India by 2013.