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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.