Leonardo has completed an initial flight test of a single-engine training helicopter the company is offering as a potential replacement for the U.S. Navy‘s TH-57 Sea Rangers platform.
The Italy-based conglomerate said Friday it aims to obtain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration early next year to operate the TH-119 trainer under FAA’s Instrument Flight Rules.
Patrick McKernan, a Leonardo pilot, flew the aircraft at a facility in Philadelphia, where the company assessed the vehicle’s general handling and avionics systems.
TH-119 is designed to support basic to advanced flight operations that include sliding landings, hovering, full autorotation, navigation, search and rescue, tactics, hoist and external cargo.
Andrew Gappy, director of U.S. government sales at Leonardo, said the company built the off-the-shelf helicopter in a bid to address the Navy’s undergraduate training and flight skill requirements.
Leonardo expects the military service to order up to 125 TH-119s if the company wins the contract.