PRESS RELEASE – Marignane, 14 January 2021

All Nippon Helicopter’s (ANH) H160 has performed its first flight test, a 95-minute flight at the Marseille Provence Airport.

This successful maiden flight paves the way for the aircraft’s entry into service in Japan.

ANH deploys a helicopter fleet comprising six AS365s and five H135s for electronic news gathering for the TV stations across Japan. This H160 will replace one of its AS365s.  

“We are delighted to see the successful inaugural flight of Japan’s very first H160, and we are looking forward to this next-generation helicopter playing an important role in our nationwide missions,” said Jun Yanagawa, President of ANH. “Since the introduction of the AS365 helicopter three decades ago, the requirements of the electronic news gathering market is constantly evolving and has significantly improved. This state-of-the-art helicopter H160 is a timely welcome for our operations.”

The H160 was granted its type certificate by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in July 2020, with the certification from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) expected in early 2021. Upon delivery of the helicopter, specialised equipment installation and customisation will be performed at Airbus Helicopters’ Kobe facility, before its entry into service.

“We are honoured to have ANH as our H160 launch customer in Japan, as they renew their fleet. This successful first flight is particularly meaningful during this unprecedented time for the industry. We thank our customer and the teams involved for devoting maximum efforts into this achievement. We will continue to provide our utmost support and ensure a smooth delivery to ANH,” said Guillaume Leprince, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters in Japan.

Japan’s electronic news gathering market is a mature market with 87 helicopters dedicated for such missions today. Close to 70% of these helicopters are manufactured by Airbus, with the H125, AS365, H135 and H155 platforms commonly used by the operators. With the imminent introduction of the H160, which is equipped with additional safety features from the Helionix’s accrued pilot assistance, this helicopter will bring added leverage to the operator.

Designed as a multi-role helicopter capable of performing a wide range of missions such as offshore transportation, emergency medical services, private and business aviation, as well as public services, the H160 integrates Airbus’ latest technological innovations. The helicopter provides passengers with superior comfort thanks to the sound-reducing Blue Edge blades and superb external visibility that benefits both passengers and pilots.

PRESS RELEASE – Rome, 11 January 2021

  • The VVIP-configured aircraft, to be operated by the Colombian Air Force, is expected to be delivered in Spring this year 
  • The AW139’s success in Colombia grows further with five offshore transport units already in service in the country; the AW139M military variant is being offered by Leonardo to meet national military requirements 
  • Over 400 Leonardo civil and military helicopters are in service in Latin America today

The Leonardo AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter will be the new Presidential Transport helicopter in the Republic of Colombia. The aircraft, in a special VVIP configuration, is expected to be delivered in spring this year and will be operated by the Colombian Air Force. 

The supply of this helicopter will make the Colombian Air Force the first military customer of the type in the country and will expand the existing AW139 fleet in Colombia. The model has already proven successful for civil transport operations supporting the Oil & Gas industry, with five units in service used by prime operator Helistar S.A.S.

The Presidential AW139 will feature, among others, an eight-seat configuration in the largest cabin in its category, the highest safety standards and include a self-defence suite, typically integrated into other helicopters in the Head of State/Government transport role. 

The selection of the AW139 VVIP in Colombia confirms the leading role of Leonardo in the world’s VIP multiengine helicopter market with a 40% share and grows the success of the type across Latin America for a range or roles, including VIP and offshore transport, law enforcement and public services. A successful model in the global military market thanks to its outstanding performance in hot & high, payload, versatility, latest technologies and modern serviceability approach often replacing the ageing UH-1 series, the AW139M military variant is also being proposed by Leonardo to respond to the multirole requirements of the Air Force, Army, National Police and Navy in Colombia. With over 400 civil and military helicopters in service in Latin America today, Leonardo is a major force in the rotorcraft sector across the region. 

The AW139 sets new standards as a result of its advanced technology, high performance, reliability, safety, role flexibility and cabin space. Its modern avionics reduce crew workload allowing the pilot to focus on the mission. Orders for nearly 1,200 units in over 70 countries have been placed by more than 280 customers worldwide and nearly 1,100 helicopters are in service with more than 2.9 million flight hours logged in operations to date, confirming itself as the bestselling aircraft in its category. The AW139 has also found significant success for VVIP and Government transport duties worldwide thanks to its outstanding reliability, safety, comfort, customisation and versatility.  

PRESS RELEASE – Rome, 11 January 2021

  • AW169 helicopter’s success in Latin America grows further for VIP/corporate transport missions and shows type’s ability to meet evolving market requirements in Mexico with private customer’s order for one aircraft 
  • The AW169 gives AW139-like bestselling capabilities in a smaller category and offers Mexican light twin operators greater payload and cabin space showing great potential for regional VIP market reshaping    
  • Nearly 240 AW169s ordered by customers worldwide to date for a wide range of civil, parapublic and military roles 

A Mexican private operator will introduce into service an AW169 this year, featuring a highly customized configuration combining the highest standards of quality and comfort and leveraging the outstanding cabin space of the model.

Leonardo announced today that the AW169 new generation light intermediate twin engine helicopter is set to enter the Mexican VIP/Corporate market, further expanding the success of the type among operators across Latin America and the globe and strengthening the role of Leonardo in the world’s multiengine VIP helicopter segment which already accounts for an approximately 40% share. 

Popular types like the AW109 light twin series and the AW139 intermediate twin have also proven extremely successful in Latin America and Mexico for various applications, including VIP/Corporate transport, over the years and the AW169 is now one more option to meet evolving regional market requirements. For more than three decades, Leonardo has been the preferred OEM of Mexican customers for VIP/executive transport operations with several AW109 variants sold and in service. The AW169 offers existing light twin operators in Mexico higher payload, more space and greater comfort. At the same time, as the lighter brother of the world class AW139, the AW169 benefits from the AW Family commonalities delivering similar capabilities on a smaller and lighter scale with distinguished equipment and systems. The AW109 GrandNew and Trekker models will continue to offer best-in-class capabilities for operators looking for light twins with high performance and customization levels. 

The AW169 incorporates several new technology features in the rotor system, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation and distribution systems. The AW169 can comfortably accommodate up to ten passengers in its large, unobstructed cabin, fitted with a range of customised equipment and entertainment systems. The aircraft is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW210A turboshafts which also have an auxiliary power unit (APU) mode, ensuring the continued operation of the environmental control system and radios, among others, when the rotors are stopped.

The AW169’s avionic suite introduces state-of-the-art technology including a fully digital NVG compatible cockpit with three large area displays and touch screen technology with enhanced 3D graphics capability for maximum situational awareness. The AW169 is also the first helicopter in its category entering the market with an electric retractable landing gear which reduces complexity and maintenance requirements. This solution adds to fixed landing gear and skid landing gear as options. A performance increase package is under development to provide even greater capabilities to customers in all conditions, including Hot&High, for which the AW169 will have the best in class power-to-weight ratio making the AW169 the perfect fit for operations in Mexico. 

Certified in 2015, nearly 240 AW169s have been ordered by customers worldwide to date to carry out a range of mission including VIP/corporate transport, EMS/SAR, law enforcement, firefighting, electronic news gathering, utility, training and military missions.

ANSV NEWS: 30 Dicembre 2020

A seguito dell’incidente occorso nel pomeriggio di oggi 30 dicembre all’elicottero Airbus Helicopters H125 [AS350B3e] marche di identificazione I-LGLG, in località San Martino, comune di Sarentino (BZ), l’Agenzia nazionale per la sicurezza del volo (ANSV) ha avviato un’inchiesta di sicurezza.

Sostanzialmente illesi i cinque occupanti, completamente distrutto l’aeromobile.

Details available at ASN Accident Page at the following link: https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/246365

PRESS RELEASE – Donauwörth, 18 December 2020

Airbus Helicopters and ÖAMTC Air Rescue have signed a firm contract for the purchase of five H135s. The delivery of the first helicopter of this contract is scheduled for early 2022.

“Our demanding missions require the most modern helicopters available for enhancing our capability for critical missions, e.g. during the night. We have been operating the H135 for more than 20 years, and we look forward to benefiting from the advantages that the Helionix version brings,” said Reinhard Kraxner, CEO at ÖAMTC Air Rescue. “The reduced pilot workload combined with the 4-axis autopilot will be a valuable asset onboard for our crews that rescue patients often in challenging environments.”

“We thank ÖAMTC Air Rescue for their continued trust in Airbus Helicopters and particularly in the H135,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “The H135 continues to demonstrate that it is the reference in air medical rescue all over the world.”

ÖAMTC Air Rescue operates 28 H135 helicopters from 17 permanent bases and 4 additional bases during the wintertime in Austria. Last year, the operator performed more than 20,000 missions, with on average 52 missions per day.

The H135 is the helicopter of reference for helicopter emergency medical service operators worldwide. It combines a wide, unobstructed cabin with excellent performance, range and payload capacity – along with low sound levels. The oversized sliding side doors and rear clamshell doors enable fast loading/unloading of patients, with additional safety during ground operations provided by Airbus’ signature shrouded Fenestron tail rotor.

On top of the 4-axis autopilot, Helionix offers an innovative cockpit layout which helps to increase situational awareness. Designed with three large electronic displays on the H135, the cockpit is Night Vision Goggle compatible and includes a First Limit Indicator which highlights the appropriate engine instrument data for the pilot in one indicator.
To date, more than 1,400 helicopters of the H135 family have been delivered around the globe with more than 5,6 million flight hours.

PRESS RELEASE – Marignane, 18 December 2020

Airbus Helicopters and its historical partner Héli-Union have signed a contract for the purchase of two multi-mission H160s to address a wide range of operations.

 “We are excited to be one of the first customers to onboard the H160 which will expand our fleet of 40 helicopters. We believe this program will have a great future in both civil and defence sectors and are delighted to be an actor of its growth” said Patrick Molis, Héli-Union CEO.

“We are proud that Héli-Union, with its vast experience across the globe, especially in offshore transportation, has selected the H160 to bolster its fleet of Airbus helicopters,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “The H160 not only raises the bar in terms of safety, thanks to its numerous pilot assistance features, but its reduced fuel consumption brings much needed operational competitiveness, as well as a lower carbon footprint, to the market,” he added. 

With 68 patents, the H160 integrates Airbus Helicopters’ latest technological innovations aimed at increasing safety and comfort.  The Blue Edge blades and the largest shrouded Fenestron tail rotor ensure low sounds levels and deliver high end performance at the same time. The aircraft’s compact size will be an added advantage to landing on oil platforms.  Designed as a multi-mission helicopter aimed at addressing all major missions from offshore transportation, emergency medical services, search and rescue as well as other public service missions, the inherent flexibility of the H160 will suit all kinds of operations around the world.

Héli-Union currently operates a fleet of approximately 20 Airbus helicopters from the Dauphin, the H225, and the H145 families and maintains a wide range of Airbus Helicopters products for third parties such as civil or defence operators.

Héli-Union is a French operator and service provider with 60 years of experience in technical and logistical support to various civil and military organizations around the world. They are active in several markets: support of civil and state aircraft activities in France and abroad, operation of helicopters in various countries, as well as training of pilots and technicians. This experience allows Héli-Union to offer its customers a turnkey solution for the acquisition of new air assets and the deployment of air operations. Héli-Union is therefore positioned as a global partner, offering a wide range of services in order to support its customers in the implementation of air services.

PRESS RELEASE – Rome, 16 December 2020

  • The delivery grows the number of AW139s operated by WIKING Helikopter Service GmbH in Germany, supporting the energy industry, to four aircraft
  • The operator’s standardisation and modernisation programme based on the AW139 is helping to meet the evolving requirements of its customers 
  • Nearly 1,200 AW139s ordered by more than 280 customers in over 70 nations worldwide, nearly 1,100 delivered and 2.9 million flight hours logged in operations to date 

Leonardo announced today that WIKING Helikopter Service GmbH has taken delivery of a new AW139 7-tonne intermediate twin engine helicopter from Leonardo’s Vergiate facility, further expanding an existing fleet of three aircraft.

The helicopter will be used to carry out offshore transport missions supporting energy industry operations in Northern Europe.

WIKING has been an offshore transport specialist in the North and Baltic Sea areas for over 45 years. It has three bases in Germany and two in the UK. The Company also performs sea pilot transfer, a windmill engineer hoisting service, and emergency medical service operations with its fleet of seven helicopters of various types. 

“Our fleet standardisation and modernisation programme launched a few years ago is helping to meet the evolving requirements of our customers and the growth of our AW139 fleet is providing a valuable support for this goal. Our decision to leverage the unrivalled mission capabilities, operational efficiency and reliability in its category of the popular AW139 are testament to our commitment to delivering the best level of safety, quality, and service across the region,” said Ernst Nassl, CEO Wiking Helikopter Service GmbH.

The AW139 has proven extremely popular in the region for offshore, search and rescue, passenger transport and law enforcement duties. The type set new standards in terms of flight and mission technology, cabin space and comfort, performance, safety and reliability as well as introducing advanced support, maintenance and training services. The AW139 is even exceeding the evolving energy market’s stringent requirements with unique features including a 60+ minutes run dry capable main gear box and full or limited ice protection system as an option to fly in known icing conditions for true all-weather operations. Nearly 1,200 AW139s have been ordered by more than 280 customers in over 70 nations to date for any kind of mission. The global fleet of nearly 1,100 units has amassed over 2.9 million flight hours to date.

COMUNICATO STAMPA N. 39/2020 – ROMA, 01 Dicembre 2020

Il 30 novembre è atterrato il primo esemplare dell’elicottero HH139B destinato a completare ed a rafforzare la flotta di elicotteri del 15° Stormo e dei Centri/Gruppi SAR alle sue dipendenze.

L’elicottero è stato consegnato il 27 novembre, presso gli stabilimenti di Leonardo in Vergiate (VA), a seguito della positiva conclusione delle procedure di collaudo e accettazione condotte dal personale della Direzione Armamenti Aeronautici e per l’Aeronavigabilità (DAAA), congiuntamente agli uomini del dipendente Ufficio Tecnico Territoriale di Milano (UTT) ed il supporto del Reparto Sperimentale Volo dell’Aeronautica Militare.

Gli HH139 versione “B” andranno a completare la flotta di elicotteri HH139A già in dotazione alla Forza Armata.

La consegna degli elicotteri terminerà nel 2021 e vedrà la consegna di 17 esemplari versione “B” ai Gruppi Volo di Cervia ed ai Centri S.A.R.  (Search and Rescue) dislocati sul territorio nazionale (80° Centro CSAR di Decimomannu a Cagliari, 82° Centro CSAR di Trapani, l’84° Centro CSAR di Gioia del Colle ed 85° Centro CSAR di Pratica di Mare).

La nuova versione HH139B presenta alcuni accorgimenti tecnici che permettono di migliorare la capacità operativa e ad aumentare pertanto la flessibilità d’impiego per rispondere alle emergenze ed alle esigenze di sicurezza.

In particolare la nuova versione è stata dotata di un doppio verricello che aumenta l’affidabilità del sistema e la sicurezza durante le operazioni di recupero e di unamission consolleche consente una migliore gestione degli apparati di bordo ai fini della ricerca di eventuali dispersi. Inoltre, il peso massimo al decollo è stato aumentato, da 6800kg a 7000kg, il che permette una maggiore capacità di carico ed infine è stata aggiornata con sistemi di ultima generazione l’avionica ed i sensori di bordo (come ad esempio il sistema AIS – Automatic Identification System – che consente una migliore interazione con i mezzi navali e l’OPLS – Obstacle Proximity LIDAR System – che favorisce l’identificazione e la separazione con gli ostacoli orografici.

Il 15° Stormo ha il compito di recuperare gli equipaggi in difficoltà in tempo di pace (SAR – Ricerca e soccorso) ed in tempo di crisi ed in operazioni fuori dai confini nazionali (C/SAR – Combat SAR), di supporto alle Operazioni Speciali nonché di concorrere in caso di gravi calamità ad attività di pubblica utilità quali la ricerca di dispersi in mare o in montagna, il trasporto sanitario d’urgenza di ammalati in pericolo di vita ed il soccorso di traumatizzati gravi , il trasporto in bio-contenimento e, di recente, anche il supporto all’attività di antincendio boschivo. Il livello addestrativo degli equipaggi, le caratteristiche tecnologiche degli elicotteri in dotazione nonché l’impiego di apparecchiature e tecniche speciali, quali l’utilizzo di visori notturni, fanno spesso del 15° Stormo l’unica componente elicotteristica in grado di gestire con successo le situazioni di emergenza più complesse grazie, come ad esempio, alla capacità d’impiego di giorno, di notte e in condizioni meteo marginali. Ogni volta che un elicottero del 15° Stormo si alza in volo o sta salvando una vita umana, o si sta addestrando per farlo. Dalla sua costituzione ad oggi infatti, gli equipaggi del 15° Stormo hanno salvato oltre 7200 persone in pericolo di vita.


Leonardo’s helicopter rescue and law enforcement fleet grows stronger in Brazil adding further AW119s to the AW109s and AW139s already used by other agencies.


PRESS RELEASE – Rome, 30 November 2020

  • The AW119Kx helicopters are expected to progressively arrive in Brazil in the first half of 2021 to carry out a range of roles including transport, rescue, emergency medical service, firefighting, surveillance and law enforcement.
  • Nearly 190 Leonardo helicopters fly in Brazil today performing a range of roles including corporate/private transport, law enforcement, public services, offshore transport, and naval applications, supported by a growing level of localized maintenance services.
  • Over 350 AW119 helicopters have been ordered by over 130 customers in 40 countries, many of them for law enforcement, rescue, public service and military tasks

Leonardo announced today that the Polícia Rodoviária Federal (PRF) of Brazil will introduce into service six AW119Kx single engine helicopters. The first aircraft is expected to be introduced in Brazil beginning next year, with the delivery of the remainder helicopters to the operator planned to be completed by mid-2021. The AW119Kxs will be operated by the Air Operations Division (DOA) from its bases in the five Regions of Brazil to perform a range of missions including transport, rescue, emergency medical service, firefighting, surveillance and law enforcement.
The selection of the AW119Kx by the PRF was made following a rigorous assessment of technical capabilities to best meet the law enforcement agency’s needs. The handover of these helicopters will further expand the fleet of Leonardo helicopters used by law enforcement, rescue and public
service operators across Brazil which already includes the AW119 single engine type in addition to the AW109 light twin and AW139 intermediate twin models. The helicopters will feature an advanced customized configuration including, among others, a Garmin G1000NXi glass cockpit,
an infrared capable electro-optics system, rescue hoist, cargo hook, bambi bucket to counter fires, rappelling kit on both sides for special forces operations, advanced communication systems.

To date there are over 190 Leonardo helicopters of various types operating in Brazil performing many roles including: corporate/private transport, law enforcement, public services, offshore transport, and naval applications. As the success of Leonardo’s product grows further, the Company is committed to further strengthening its existing level of localized services with the establishment of a new regional support centre, run by Leonardo do Brasil, in Itapevi, 30 km from São Paulo whose groundbreaking was celebrated in February. The new support centre will expand the services already provided by the existing facility headquartered in São Paulo. Leonardo is committed to serving and protecting communities around the world, contributing to their sustainable growth by leading in next generation technologies. Partnering with Governments, private organizations and industries for the best security and safety capabilities is a cornerstone of Leonardo’s Be Tomorrow 2030 Strategic Plan.