In 1952, Agusta Spa, an Italian aircraft manufacturer founded in 1907 by Giovanni Agusta, acquired a license from Bell Helicopter to manufacture the Bell 47 for the European market. This was followed by similar license agreements with Bell, for the Bell 206 and other Bell helicopters; Sikorsky, for the S-61; and other helicopter manufacturers. In the late 1950s, Agusta initiated its own helicopter designs starting with the Agusta 101. In 2000, Agusta merged with Westland Helicopter of the UK, forming Agusta/Westland. The merged company is a major helicopter manufacturer that builds helicopters under license, designs and builds it own designs and is a partner in a number of international joint helicopter projects. In late 2015, AgustaWestland was temporarily rebranded Finmeccanica Helicopters, only to be renamed Leonardo Helicopters in May 2016. The name Leonardo references the 15th and 16th century Italian artist and inventor, Leonardo da Vinci—widely credited with devising the first concept for the helicopter.
The original model was the A109. The first production version was the A109A, which was succeeded by the A109A Mark II and the A109C. In addition, the A109K2 was introduced to provide outstanding hot and high performance. Each model incorporated various improvements, including a higher rated main transmission, an improved engine, increased cabin size, increased fuel capacity and a higher takeoff gross weight. The A109 Power and its stretched derivative, the 109 Grand represent a major redesign of the A109. This redesign provides increased cabin length and width, higher fuel capacity, a redesigned retractable gear, a redesigned main rotor, a higher rated transmission and new engines. The 109 Grand is also referred to as the A109S.
The A109 Grand was introduced in 2004. The Grand is a stretched derivative of the A109 Power. It is fitted with two Pratt and Whitney 207C turboshaft engines and a choice between two avionics packages: Rockwell Collins Pro Line II or the BendixKing Silver Crown suite. The cockpit can be fitted with night vision goggles (NVG) compatible internal and external lighting. Certification was received in 2006 and the helicopter is in production.