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Navy League 2023: Leonardo delivers 41st TH-73A training helicopter

The US Navy's TH-73A Thrasher training helicopter. (US Navy)

Leonardo has delivered almost a third of the TH-73A Thrasher training helicopters that the US Navy plans to buy, according to an official at the Italy-based defence and aerospace company.

Leonardo is building three or four TH-73As a month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the US, and delivered the 41st on 4 April, said Jeffrey Ketcham, director of navy programmes for Leonardo Helicopters. The navy intends to buy 130 Thrashers, with deliveries expected to end in 2025.

According to Ketcham, the programme has largely recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, which sidelined much of its workforce and slowed production. “We're back in a good spot, but just that initial dip had an impact certainly on our ability to get aircraft out the door as fast as we wanted to,” he told Janes on 5 April at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2023 conference held in National Harbor, Maryland.

The single-engine TH-73A, which is based on the commercial AW119Kx, will replace the ageing Bell TH-57. Three training squadrons at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Florida will fly the TH-73A, with the first having started in September 2022. The other two squadrons will begin using the Thrasher in September 2023 and September 2024, respectively.

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