Leonardo has secured the US Navy’s (USN’s) TH-XX training helicopter replacement requirement, with a USD176.5 million contract awarded on 13 January.
The award by the US Department of Defense (DoD) covers 32 of the Italian company’s AW119-derived helicopters, due to be delivered by the end of October 2021. In USN service, the AW119 will be designated TH-73A (prior to the contract award, Leonardo had designated its USN-specific variant of the AW119 as the TH-119).
As noted by Leonardo, AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corporation is to be the prime contractor for the work, with the new TH-73As being built in Philadelphia.
While the contract is for 32 TH-73As, the USN has a requirement for up to 130 helicopters for the advanced training of USN, US Marine Corps (USMC), and US Coast Guard (USCG) undergraduate helicopter pilots. Separate to the DoD and Leonardo contract announcements, the US Navy said that it intends to follow this initial ‘base’ order with three follow-on batches for a total of 130 helicopters. The total contract value will be USD648 million, with deliveries scheduled to begin in calendar year 2020 and continue through calendar year 2024.
Delivery of the first 32 TH-73As towards the end of 2021 will enable the USN to retire the Bell JetRanger-derived TH-57 that is set to be fully withdrawn from service by 2023.
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