Thanks to Oscar BERNARDI, Davide OLIVATI and Tiziano CAPENTI for these images of the factory new Leonardo Helicopters AW109SP GrandNew ( c/n 22397 ) I-ERPA … wearing this unique grey camo livery. The helicopter was delivered at the end of May and pictured in Verona Boscomantico and at Mugello Race Circuit Helipad during the recent MotoGP 2019 event.
Thanks to Simone PREVIDI and Max NOVE for these new images of the very first Leonardo Helicopters AW169 that will be operated by Guardia di Finanza … the helicopter is currently wearing the test registration CSX81962 and the code GF-501, together with the new GdiF livery already apperaed on AW139 GF-413 few days ago.
Thanks to Fabio De NICOLA for these new images of the Leonardo Helicopters AW139 N858AH operated from Saudi Aramco … on delivery via Pescara Airport, April 2019.
Thanks to Tiziano CAPENTI for this great image of the second Leonardo Helicopters AW169 I-RAIM that will be later operated from Norsk Politi [Norwegian Police] as LN-ORB … perform pre-delivery maintenance flights in Venegono (VA), May 2019.
Leonardo: Sloane signs contract for two additional AW109s and renews Distributorship Agreement in UK.
- Distributorship Agreement renewal signed with Sloane for the AW109 GrandNew, AW109 Trekker and AW169 in UK and Ireland foresees at least eight new sales by 2021
- Leonardo is the world’s leading manufacturer in the VIP multiengine helicopter market with a 40% share; largest producer of corporate helicopters flying in UK
- Combined orders for over 450 Grand/GrandNew and Trekker aircraft placed by customers worldwide to date
Geneva, 22 May 2019 – As the world’s leading manufacturer in the VIP multiengine helicopter market with a 40% share and the largest producer of corporate helicopters flying in UK, Leonardo is further growing its presence in this sector with the announcement of a further renewal of the Distributorship Agreement in UK and Ireland with its key partner Sloane Helicopters (Sloane). The agreement covers the AW109 GrandNew, AW109 Trekker and AW169 types over the period 2019-2021. Under the Distributorship Agreement, Sloane foresees the purchase of at least eight new helicopters by 2021, with a contract for an AW109 GrandNew and an AW109 Trekker in VIP configuration signed at EBACE. Leonardo is the world leader in the twin-engine VIP/corporate helicopter market including private, charter and VVIP/Government transport services, thanks to the most modern and largest product range featuring state-of-art avionic and navigation systems along with class leading performance, safety and comfort standards. Sloane said: “We are delighted and honoured to continue our close partnership with Leonardo Helicopters. The AW109 series and AW169 helicopters have consolidated their positions as the benchmark for helicopters in the corporate/VIP market. As the sole Distributor in the region for 24 years, Sloane Helicopters has an unrivalled understanding of customer requirements and continues to leverage this expertise by offering industry leading solutions throughout the sales process and after sales support.” The partnership with Sloane has led to the sale of nearly 80 aircraft to date. Following the outstanding success of earlier variants of the AW109 and the AW109 GrandNew, the new AW109 Trekker has more recently found success with three aircraft ordered in the region to date. The AW109 GrandNew and the AW109 Trekker share the same powerful engines, dynamics, the most spacious cabin and the best performance and maximum cruise speed in the light twin class, while featuring different digital core avionics and with retractable landing gear / skids respectively. Each provides customers with one more option depending on their specific operational requirements. Combined orders for over 450 Grand/GrandNew and Trekker helicopters have been placed by customers worldwide to date.
AIR FORCE MAGAZINE NEWS – 20 May 2019
Link to original online article by John A. TIRPAK / Air Force Magazine: http://airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/May%202019/Boeing-Gearing-Up-for-MH-139-Test-Models-Production.aspx
The first MH-139 for the Air Force—which replaces the UH-1N Huey in the roles of nuclear missile field support, VIP transport, and some other missions—is in production at Agusta-Westland facilities north of St. Louis, Mo., and if there are no hiccups, it will fly by the end of the year, Boeing officials reported. The Agusta-Westland facility, part of Boeing’s major subcontractor, Leonardo, will assemble the fuselage, put on the rotors, and essentially build a civilian version of the aircraft, Rick Lemaster, company director of vertical lift marketing, told reporters in a briefing at Boeing’s Philadelphia, Pa., helicopter factory on May 16. It is then handed over to Boeing, which militarizes it for the Air Force’s unique missions. Boeing will convert the vanilla aircraft into an MH-139 by changing the baggage door compartment to “allow some special equipment to be installed” that the Air Force declines to identify. Defensive aids, such as flare dispensers and missile warning systems will be added, as will the machine gun mount and a “crashworthy, self-sealing fuel tank,” Lemaster explained. Additionally, ballistic protection will be added to the floor and cockpit. Once complete, the aircraft will receive USAF certification and fly off to their duty station. Lemaster said the Air Force will likely “turn on production in the next year or two, and once that happens the company anticipates to deliver about 10 aircraft per year into the early 2030s. The numbers may vary, as USAF’s contract allows for more or less aircraft each year. The MH-139 is a $2.38 billion firm, fixed-price contract program, of which $375 million gets the ball rolling with engineering and manufacturing development. Although the Air Force quoted a figure of $1.7 billion in savings when it announced Boeing had won the UH-1N replacement contest last fall, Boeing’s number is more conservative, Lemaster said. “We said we could save $1 billion, in terms of overall life cycle costs, or compared to competitors. That was our calculation, between support cost and acquisition.” The big discriminator between Boeing and its chief rival, the Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky Blackhawk, was the fact that the Air Force didn’t need a larger, combat-capable aircraft, he said. “This aircraft is relatively easy to maintain compared to competitors,” Lemaster said. The MH-139 is “not as big and heavy as a Blackhawk,” which he called “a great capability, great in combat, but that’s not what the Air Force requirement was.” Boeing’s approach was to offer an aircraft that is “right-sized for the mission,” Lemaster asserted. The first two aircraft are to be delivered in late 2020. They will then enter a test program, and if all goes well, operational testing will be in 2022, followed by full-rate production in 2023. The Air Force will buy at least 84 MH-139s. Armed versions with an M240 machine gun externally mounted on the starboard side will be fielded by three Air Force Global Strike Command bases, each with 11 aircraft to rapidly respond to threats at missile fields and provide other support for the ICBM mission. Some 30 aircraft will be based at JB Andrews, Md., for VIP transport. Four aircraft each will support VIP and aeromedical evacuation missions at Yokota AB, Japan, and the Air Force survival, evasion, resistance, and escape school at Fairchild AFB, Wash. The MH-139 “schoolhouse” at Kirtland AFB, N.M., will get the remainder, minus the two initial aircraft, which will stay at Eglin AFB, Fla., for ongoing test of modifications and software.
Lemaster said the AW-139, on which the MH-139 is based, is in service with 250 customers in 70 nations, and the fleet has accumulated more than two million flight hours, “So it’s a very mature product,” allowing Boeing to quote fixed-price support costs. The Air Force plans to fly the aircraft 480 hours per year, each. The highest-time version of the aircraft has just reached 12,000 flight hours, so it will be a long time before the Air Force will need to think about the MH-139’s replacement, Lemaster said.
“There is no airframe life limit, so there’s no requirement to take it back to a depot and do modifications,” he noted. Having succeeded in running over an hour with no transmission oil—a “run dry” test, Lemaster said, “It’s just a very survivable aircraft.” Additionally, the helicopter has been certified for one pilot under instrument flight rules, meaning the service could optionally relax its two-pilot requirement down the road, he said. For ease of maintainability, the engine and transmission are above the cabin, and built-in foot stands allow preflight inspections without putting a hardstand next to the aircraft, he said. There’s “one contiguous open space” in the cabin, offering flexibility of use. Although the engines don’t have infrared suppressors, the exhaust heat is fairly low, without intense hotspots that would make a good infrared target. Lemaster said he thinks the first batch of aircraft will be a run of eight, but “there’s a lot of flexibility in the way the contract is structured, so they can add or subtract the quantity. We’ve given them firm pricing for all of those iterations, and they’ll buy what they want.”
Link to original online article by Air Force Magazine: http://airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/May%202019/Boeing-Gearing-Up-for-MH-139-Test-Models-Production.aspx
Thanks to Tiziano CAPENTI for this image of the Leonardo Helicopters AW139 MT81961 / GF-413 operated by Guardia di Finanza. This is the first AW139 to wear new GdiF color scheme, pictured during test flights in Venegono (VA), May 2019.
New action picture of the Leonardo Helicopters AW139 I-PRAX operated on behalf of Prada Spa … leaving from Milan Malpensa main apron, January 2019.
Here some new imgaes of the Leonardo Helicopters AW109SP GrandNew HB-ZPL operated from Swiss Helicopters AG on behalf of Alturia Ltd … departing from Milan Malpensa, April 2019. This helicopter was previously operated as I-AWCX and G-JTHO.
Leonardo: Italy’s National Fire Corps receives first two AW139 helicopters, the backbone of the Country’s rescue and emergency response services.
- The helicopters will carry out search and medical rescue, firefighting and disaster relief with enhanced operational effectiveness from all national bases. The first AW139 of the National Fire Corps is now entering service.
- Replacing the AB412 fleet in the next few years, the AW139 has also been chosen by the Italian Air Force, Guardia di Finanza, State Police, Coast Guard and many EMS operators
- The new helicopters feature latest generation avionics and sensors and firefighting and rescue equipment for operations in all conditions
Rome, 18 April, 2019 – With the delivery of the first two AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopters, Leonardo and the Italian National Fire Corps (Vigili del Fuoco, part of the Ministry of the Interior) announced a major step forward in strengthening their collaboration delivering advanced, more effective emergency response services in Italy. The event, celebrated during an official ceremony held at Leonardo’s Vergiate facility today in the presence of Government representatives and local authorities. The introduction of the AW139 marks a major enhancement of airborne multirole capabilities with the world’s most modern helicopter for maritime and mountain Search and Rescue (SAR), medical rescue, firefighting and disaster relief duties.
Over 816,000 rescues and sorties are performed every year countering fires across Europe, including many in Italy, and the AW139s, planned to progressively replace the Italian National Fire Corps AB412s which have been in service for decades, will guarantee optimimal coverage and an even more rapid responsiveness across the country. The Italian National Fire Corps will receive a third AW139 this year under the €45 million contract signed in 2018. The contract also includes integrated logistic support and training for pilots and technicians, and encompasses an option for 12 additional helicopters. The first two helicopters will be based in Rome Ciampino for National Fire Corps personnel training.
The backbone of the Country’s rescue services, the AW139 is also in service with the Italy’s Guardia di Finanza, State Police, Coast Guard and Air Force. The National Fire Corps AW139s feature a wide range of mission equipment, including an external rescue hoist, cargo hook with bambi bucket provision, weather radar, multi-band and satellite communication systems, high definition Forward Looking Infra-Red / Low Light TV (FLIR/LLTV) system, Leonardo’s high definition mission console with digital recorder, high definition down link, Leonardo’s Optical Proximity LiDAR System (OPLS), Night Vision Goggle (NVG) capability, new generation Trakka searchlight, emergency floatation system and external life rafts, external loudspeaker, medical rack and bubble windows.