The aircraft, which are being supplied to Israel through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales framework, will be wholly manufactured at Leonardo’s facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before being transported to Israel for delivery.
The single-engine AW119Kx is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B-37A engine and has a maximum cruise speed of 243km and a maximum range of 922km. The aircraft can be equipped for multiple roles, including transport, helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) and search and rescue (SAR), utility and security operations.
It follows a previous order placed in 2019 by the Israeli Ministry of Defence as part of a ‘comprehensive training program’ which covered the supply of seven US-produced AW119Kx helicopters, full flight simulators and other training devices, newly built facilities and a 20-year support package.
The AW119 is operated by a number of government agencies worldwide. The US Department of Defense has ordered 104 units to replace its ageing TH-57 Sea Ranger fleet as the primary training helicopter of the US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, under a framework contract for up to 130 aircraft awarded in 2020. The Portuguese Air Force also operates a fleet of five AW119Kx helicopters, purchased in 2018, for use in training, medical evacuations, troop transport and short-range maritime SAR.