TH-73A
The Leonardo TH-73A. (Leonardo)

The US Navy has selected AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp. as winner of the Advanced Helicopter Training System competition.

The Contract

The $176.5 million contract requires an initial build of 32 TH-73A training helicopters to replace its fleet of more than 100 Bell TH-57B/C SeaRangers. The contract was won against Bell’s 407GXi and the Airbus Helicopter’s H135.

The deal boosts orders at the 650-worker Philadelphia plant, which is owned by the Italy-based Leonardo industrial group. The US Navy has a requirement for up to an additional 98 aircraft by 2024, boosting the total contract award to $648 million.

TH-73A training helicopters

The training helicopters, based on Leonardo Helicopters civil AW-119 powered by a single 1,000shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B37A turboshaft, was approved for instrument flight rules (IFR) by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The helicopter will serve pilots and maintenance personnel for the US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard, along with the US Navy, James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition, said in a statement. He said the deal will help to ensure the readiness of US naval aviators for decades.

Deliveries

Initial deliveries to the US Navy are scheduled to begin this year and the TH73As will be based at NAS Whiting Field in Middleton, Florida. The US Navy contract is a major boost for the Philadelphia plant where MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters are being built for the US Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) which will provide security and support for US ICBM bases replacing the Bell UH-1N.

by David Oliver