The U.S. Navy has selected Leonardo TH-119 helicopter for its TH-73 Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) program to replace its aging fleet of TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopters.
According to a statement from the Pentagon, AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp. (Leonardo) was awarded firm-fixed-price contract, worth around $176.5 million, by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) for the production and delivery of 32 TH-73A helicopters. The contract also includes initial spares, peculiar support equipment, flyaway kits, hoists, sling loads, data in excess of commercial form fit function/operations maintenance instructional training data as well as ancillary instructor pilot and maintenance personnel training.
A statement from the Navy said that five proposals were submitted for the contract and the contract for 32 aircraft was awarded on a best-value tradeoff basis with a base and three one-year options. The total contract value is $648.1M for the procurement of 130 aircraft.
The TH-73A will be manufactured in the United States with assembly taking place, through FAA Airworthiness certification, in the contractor’s FAA Part 21 facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Helicopter deliveries are scheduled to begin in the calendar year 2020 and continue through the calendar year 2024. The new helicopter will meet advanced rotary-wing and intermediate tilt-rotor training requirements for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard through 2050.
“Today marks a great team effort to procure and deliver a helicopter trainer for the next generation of helicopter and tilt-rotor pilots for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard,” said James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. “I’m proud of the aggressive work the team did to leverage the commercial industrial base to get this capability to the warfighters, and our nation, at the best value to the taxpayer. This effort is key to ensure the readiness of our Naval Aviators for decades to come.”
Alessandro Profumo, Chief Executive Officer Leonardo said, “On the cusp of celebrating nearly 40 years of operating in Philadelphia, Leonardo is thrilled the U.S. Navy has selected our TH-119-based offer and us as a local and long term partner. We are proud to be a core contributor to the future of U.S. defense.”
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters added, “Today’s brilliant news is a ringing endorsement for our solutions setting new industry standards for training. We are committed to working with the U.S. Navy to ensure future pilots meet all evolving service requirements.”
William Hunt, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters Philadelphia said, “Our plan since day one has been to offer the U.S. Navy the training capabilities they asked for, without compromise. We are honored to deliver on that promise, build the new fleet in Philadelphia and maintain it from Milton, Florida.”
TH-119 is based on the AW119 Koala single-turbine light helicopter developed and manufactured by Italy’s AgustaWestland (now Leonardo Helicopters).
The TH-119’s dual-display advanced glass cockpit, supplied by Genesys Aerosystems, allows instruction from either pilot seat with full IFR capabilities including flight director and 3-axis full autopilot. Designed with input from former U.S. Naval aviators and former Navy instructor pilots, the TH-119 features a unique 180-degree adjustable observer seat that provides a full view of the cockpit enabling more effective learning even when seated in the back.
The TH-119 combines exceptional power margins, thanks to its popular and reliable 1,000 shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-B engine, with the durability of a cocoon-type metal airframe and reinforced shock stabilized skids for touchdown maneuver training.
Reinforced skids with removable shoes stand up to countless touchdown repetitions while “hot” pressure refueling allows the fuel tank to be safely refilled without shutting the engine down which reduces turnaround time compared to other aircraft.
The TH-119 IFR training helicopter performed its maiden flight test on Dec. 20, 2018. Last year, Leonardo announced that the helicopter received IFR supplemental type certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The AgustaWestland AW119 is in service in 40 countries and has been selected by high profile military, government and parapublic customers, including the Portuguese Air Force, New York City Department of Environmental Protection Police (DEP Police) and many others across Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.