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Leonardo undertakes ship trials of AW609 tiltrotor

Production-standard AW609 test aircraft AC4 seen performing flight trials from the ITS Cavour aircraft carrier. (Leonardo)

Leonardo has conducted ship trials of its AW609 tiltrotor, the company announced on 26 June.

The milestone, which was achieved in co-operation with the Italian Navy, saw a production-standard AW609 land and take-off from the ITS Cavour aircraft carrier, sailing 20 n miles offshore.

“During the demonstration, the AW609 provided a unique opportunity to further strengthen the awareness of the…advantages of Leonardo's tiltrotor in a dedicated maritime environment. This testifies how the world's first tiltrotor set to achieve a civil certification meets demanding operational and safety standards. Therefore, it is ideally positioned to meet a range of government and public service needs, in Italy and globally,” Leonardo said.

Deck landing and take-off procedures were performed in more than 15 different conditions, including wind conditions, and featured a straight-in and lateral approach, vertical landing, vertical take-off, and lateral exit. The trials were undertaken by test aircraft AC4, which is part of the wider Leonardo effort to gain US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for the AW609.

Powered by two 1,445 kW (1,938 shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A turboshaft engines, one mounted on each wingtip to drive the 7.92 m-long rotor blades, the AW609 has a flight crew of two and can carry a maximum of nine passengers in the standard aircraft configuration. The aircraft has a 275 kt top speed, a range of 750 n miles, a service ceiling of 25,000 ft (with a pressurised cabin), and an estimated endurance of three hours.

For more information on the AW609, please see Leonardo flies first production standard AW609 tiltrotor .

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