The total requirement is for 130 aircraft, with delivery to continue through to 2024. The initial, firm-fixed-price contract just shy of $177 million was awarded in 2020, and called for the production and delivery of 32 TH-73A helicopters, initial spares, support, dedicated equipment, in addition to specific pilot and maintenance services. In November 2020, the US Department of Defense exercised options for an additional 36 aircraft in the contract.
“Today’s event marks a significant milestone for Leonardo, marking our growing effort and commitment to becoming not just a supplier, but a partner and strategic asset for the US in several sectors,” said Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo’s CEO. “We are proud to be a core contributor to the future of US defense.”
“This is a great day for Leonardo and Philadelphia. Producing the aircraft that will train our nation’s future Naval Aviators is more than just an honor, but also a humbling and extremely gratifying experience,” added William Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of Leonardo Helicopters in the US. “I am proud of the hard work that our teammates in the US have given to get us to this first delivery and the many that will follow.”
Modernizing Navy training technology
The TH-73A is replacing the aging fleet of TH-57B/C Sea Rangers and will serve as the first training aircraft for thousands of Student Naval Aviators at NAS Whiting Field in Milton, FL, where all student helicopter pilots for the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard train along with several NATO-allied nations.
The TH-73A is suited for initial training flights, but also capable of advanced training. With a Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engine, dual safety and hydraulic systems and advanced digital avionics by Genesys Aerosystems, the TH-73 can perform every maneuver in the US Navy’s training syllabus. The Advanced Helicopter Training System will modernize Navy training technology, taking it from analog to digital, and is manufactured to serve aviation students until 2050 or longer.
Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Leonardo also recently delivered its 10th AW101 All-Weather Search and Rescue helicopter to the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security.