All posts for the day November 1st, 2023

PRESS RELEASE – 30 October 2023

An AW169 equipped for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) missions is embarking on a month-long demonstration tour across Japan as Leonardo continues to strengthen its presence in the country where it has a rich heritage of partnership dating back to the mid-1980s.

The Leonardo fleet of helicopters in Japan has grown rapidly in recent years, with almost 160 aircraft now in service. Some 80% of these helicopters are deployed for missions that save lives spanning roles such as search and rescue, law enforcement, firefighting and disaster relief as well as primary and secondary EMS missions. The arrival of an EMS-configured AW169 for a month-long demo tour signifies the company’s continued commitment to customers in Japan, and in particular Leonardo’s support for the public service market.
The AW169, which features a full medical interior, belongs to Italian helicopter operator Alidaunia and will make numerous stops to across the country to engage with EMS operators, search and rescue organizations, law enforcement agencies and firefighting aviation units stretching from the northernmost Hokkaido Island to the south of the country.
“We believe the AW169 is particularly well suited to the EMS mission and public service roles more generally in Japan,” says Daniele Alzetta who is responsible for Sales in the Asia Pacific Rim region. “In the EMS sector in Japan, there is a trend towards replacing smaller helicopters with larger models that offer more cabin space and this is a strength of the AW169 because it has class-leading cabin size. The spacious cabin means that crews benefit from full access to the patient, while the helicopter can also carry more complex and advanced medical equipment on board to deliver emergency care in flight.
“The AW169’s performance and range are also important factors in Japan which has a territory that includes thousands of islands, requiring helicopters to perform an important role in accessing remote communities. The helicopter’s compact footprint also enables it to operate effectively in densely populated cities where landing sites can be significantly restricted.”
Alzetta adds: “Japan’s EMS market is well developed with approximately 65% of operations involving primary missions where aircraft are deployed directly to the scene of an incident and the remainder being secondary missions such as intra-hospital transfers.”

Four decades of growth

Leonardo’s presence in the Japanese helicopters market can be traced back almost 40 years to the mid-1980s with the sale of early Agusta A109 models into the country. In the four decades since, the fleet has grown significantly, particularly since the opening of the company’s office in the country in 2008. In the civil market, Leonardo aircraft operate diverse missions including VIP/corporate, utility, transport, training, and Search and Rescue (SAR), in addition to EMS, firefighting and law enforcement operations.
Japan also has a mature Electronic News Gathering (ENG) market, with a significant fleet of helicopters carrying out ENG activities for newspapers and broadcasters nationwide. A total of seven AW139s and four AW169s are in service supporting the ENG market currently.

PRESS RELEASE – 23 October 2023

  • The aircraft will be operated by Trauma Star for air ambulance support in Monroe County, Florida with deliveries between late 2024 and early 2025 
  • The operator adds to several others using the AW139 for a range of law enforcement, emergency response and firefighting across Florida, New Jersey, Maryland and California   

Leonardo announced an order today for three AW139 medium twin-engine helicopters by Monroe Country in Florida. These aircraft will be operated by Trauma Star, a joint effort of Monroe County Fire Rescue and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and will provide air ambulance support across the Florida Keys from Lower Keys Medical Center and the Florida Keys Marathon International Airport.

These AW139s will be delivered from Leonardo’s FAA-Certified Part 21 Production Facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between the end of 2024 and early 2025, after which it will undergo dedicated mission customization before replacing the County’s existing fleet.

“An extensive search for a replacement aircraft was made to update Trauma Star’s aging fleet of Sikorsky S76 aircraft with a newer, manufacturer-supported aircraft.  The goal was an aircraft that would increase operating cost efficiency and reduce downtime due to unscheduled maintenance.  The AW139 is the only aircraft available that will meet Trauma Star’s mission profile, able to fly the distance, carry our payloads and utilize our current landing zones” said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

Monroe County is the southernmost county in Florida, and the United States, and includes Key West, Marathon, Key Colony Beach, Layton and Islamorada. The County is spread across 3,737 square miles, 73% of which is water, and includes large portions of the Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve.     

“We are honored to begin our long-term partnership with Monroe County, and we are confident that the AW139 will provide Trauma Star with the capabilities they need to safely and effectively rescue and transport patients in Southern Florida.” said Clyde Woltman, Chief Executive Officer of Leonardo Helicopters US. 

The order further demonstrates the success of the AW139 as the aircraft of choice for EMS and SAR missions across the world in its category and its growing presence in USA also among public services operators. With nearly 400 aircraft covering civil, parapublic and military operators that carry out emergency and disaster relief operations worldwide, more than 900,000 flight hours have been logged to date by the AW139 rescue-configured fleet globally, out of a total of 3.7 million FH for all missions. For similar services in USA in a mix of law enforcement, EMS, disaster relief and firefighting on behalf of local administrations, the AW139 is already operating in Florida, New Jersey, Maryland and California.  

With more than 1300 units sold, over 1,100 in service for over 280 customers in around 90 nations, the AW139 delivers outstanding capabilities, technology, and safety to meet stringent requirements from operators for tasks in harsh conditions to maximize effectiveness. This type features state-of-the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins, and overall performance; the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration; a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety; and a wide range of certified mission kits. 

PRESS RELEASE – Tomaszów Mazowiecki,  31 October 2023

The Polish Land Forces has taken delivery of their first two AW149 helicopters during a ceremony held at the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade in Tomaszów Mazowiecki yesterday, where they are entering service 15 months after the contract signing.

The new Polish military helicopters’ configuration allows combat support missions among others. Fully meeting the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces, the configuration will also include, among other capabilities, observation systems, small arms, guided/unguided rockets and missiles and self-defence systems. The armament, depending on the helicopter variant and configuration, is installed in the cabin or on the helicopter’s external hard points.

The delivery follows the contract announced on 1st July 2022 including logistics, training, and simulator packages. The logistics package includes a stock of spares and consumable parts, as well as equipment for the ground handling of the helicopters. The training and simulator package includes comprehensive training of pilots and technical personnel and the delivery of a set of advanced simulators and training equipment. 

The Polish MoD’s programme is based on localized production through PZL-Świdnik, which is the prime contractor also covering the integration of the helicopter’s systems and dedicated armament. Thanks to local production, Poland gains not only state-of-the-art helicopters, but also a domestic logistics base and technical facilities located close to the Polish Land Forces.

This delivery marks the quick reaction of PZL-Świdnik as contractor and local industrial partner of Polish Armed Forces for many decades. PZL-Świdnik, the Polish company fully owned by Leonardo, will also deliver support services for these helicopters and modernize them in accordance with the future needs of the operator.

Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “The state-of-the-art AW149 helicopter represents a quantum leap forward in true multirole mission and growth capability, efficient fleet management and emergency responsiveness for modern armed forces. The localisation of industrial and logistical capabilities for these new helicopters to meet Poland’s needs, leverage the long established and unique capabilities of PZL-Świdnik and its professional skills combined with the outstanding operational capabilities of the AW149 will deliver unparalleled advantages to the country.”     

Jacek Libucha, President of PZL-Świdnik said: “With complete capabilities in helicopter design, development, customisation and servicing, PZL-Świdnik confirmed again its leadership and the continuation of its over 70-year heritage through the setting of key milestones for Polish aviation industry. As a former military officer with experience in country and through international missions, I have an even greater sense of fulfillment of my duties leading PZL-Świdnik now. I am convinced that the AW149 will meet the Armed Forces’ high-end needs and those helicopters will provide them the best in class combat support. This is what the platform has been designed for.”

PRESS RELEASE – 30 October 2023

  • The 5,100 kg Increased Gross Weight (IGW) will meet the evolving needs of the military and civil markets delivering higher weight category performance and capabilities with lower weight category costs 
  • An 11-seater configuration and modular fuel tank will address rigorous requirements, particularly in the energy sector in terms of payload, range, and compliance with the latest standards 
  • The latest enhancements and kits being developed leverage on the inherent growth potential of the successful latest generation AW169 helicopter

The AW169 light intermediate twin engine helicopter’s operational capabilities and range of options will grow further with the launch of a 5,100 kg (11,243 lb) IGW kit and an 11-seater configuration fully compliant with the IOGP (International Association of Oil & Gas Producers) Report 690. Both will be made available for the aircraft version with skid landing gear. 

The 5,100 kg (11,243 lb) kit for the AW169 skid version, originally conceived to meet government and defence requirements for missions like troop transport and combat operations, will also respond to evolving civil and public service market needs leveraging multiple operational and performance benefits. Key factors to this capability expansion are the inherent growth potential of the type not requiring modifications in the design of critical components, and the performance increase packages, delivering greater engine and transmission power as well as improved aerodynamics in all conditions and for all applications.

Compared with the standard 4,800 kg (10582 lb) Maximum Take-off Weight, the extra 300 kg (661 lb) available with the 5,100 kg IGW kit allows the embarkation of three more passengers or the addition of fuel for approximately one hour of operations. Existing operators of the type’s version with skids will be able to retrofit the 5,100 kg IGW kit to enhance their aircraft’s capabilities. 

As an additional option, the 11-seater configuration, fully compliant with the IOGP Report 690 (Offshore Helicopter Recommended Practices), will introduce a new modular fuel tank system and two additional Type IV emergency exits in the cabin, increasing the total number from four to six. The 11 seats configuration will be available for the skid-fitted version in combination with the 5,100 kg IGW kit. This solution will allow the type to satisfy even more demanding offshore transport requirements in terms of payload, range, and compliance with IOGP latest standards. 

This configuration will allow a radius of action of up to 75 nm with 11 passengers, therefore offering capabilities typically achievable with types with a MTOW exceeding 5.5 tons (intermediate class) at a light intermediate class cost of operations as well as granting latest safety standards compared with legacy helicopters. It will also deliver greater sustainability versus ageing types in the relevant weight category thanks to a more efficient powerplant, advanced navigation, modern support and maintenance approach, among other solutions.

The Certification of the IGW increase is expected in 2024 while the 11-seater configuration with new modular fuel tank is planned for certification in 2026. 

These latest operational capabilities will add to the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certifications of the skid undercarriage and unique IFR, single pilot, Advanced Search and Rescue (SAR) Modes, both achieved in late 2022. With the skid configuration certification, the AW169 became the only modern CS29-certified aircraft able to offer all undercarriage solutions, further demonstrating the versatility by design of the type. The AW169 is also the only helicopter in its weight category that features Advanced SAR Modes. The performance increase packages previously developed had already enhanced engine performance and capabilities, transmission ratings and available payload through engine software updates and aircraft aerodynamics modifications, making the type the helicopter with the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.

The introduction of the AW169 has expanded Leonardo’s presence in the emergency medical service market and added more operators for law enforcement, disaster relief, and fire-fighting duties. It further reinforces the company’s leadership in the multi-engine VIP market providing operators with one more option fitting between the popular AW109 series and the bestselling AW139 models. It also adds one more solution for shorter-range operations supporting the energy sector and allows Leonardo to play a growing role in the new wind farm support field. Moreover, its dual-use design has responded to a range of government, homeland security and defence requirements for missions like surveillance, troop transport, combat operations, disaster relief and emergency response, fire-fighting, training, mountain rescue, and medevac. 

Over 320 AW169s are on order today, with around 170 units delivered from the Vergiate final assembly line (Italy) to operators in over 30 countries. The global fleet has logged in excess of 170,000 flight hours in all kind of operations and conditions. The fleet leader has exceeded 3,700 flight hours in EMS operations in Sweden.