Leonardo handed over the first TH-73A helicopter to the U.S. Navy for training the branch’s tiltrotor and rotary-wing aviators, as part of a $171 million initial aircraft production contract awarded in January 2020.
The Advanced Helicopter Training System, which is derived from the AgustaWestland AW119 Koala, will replace the TH-57B/C Sea Ranger used by military student pilots at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida, the company said Thursday.
Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff, chief of naval aviation training, said the branch will use the system’s modern cockpit technology and training curriculum in efforts to hone aviator skills.
The Navy plans to buy 130 TH-73As under a contract worth potentially $648.1 million, with an initial order for 32 trainers and deliveries happening over the next three years.
Leonardo said it will establish a 100,000-square-foot center near the Whiting Field installation to maintain the helicopters and provide other support services to the fleet.
Several Navy officials and government representatives attended the TH-73A presentation ceremony that took place Thursday at the company’s Philadelphia facility.
The helicopter is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PT-6 engine and equipped with Genesys Aerosystems’ digital avionics.