HomeNewsLeonardo Helicopter model selected for Navy training

Leonardo Helicopter model selected for Navy training

A big investment: Leonardo Helicopter was awarded a contract worth $176 million to produce 32 helicopters for U.S. Navy training. Source: Leonardo Helicopter

Leonardo Helicopters is soaring high.

The helicopter manufacturer based at 3050 Red Lion Road was awarded a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to produce helicopters to be used for U.S. Navy training. The manufacturer will produce 32 TH-73A helicopters through October 2021.

The contract is valued at $176,472,608.

“On the cusp of celebrating nearly 40 years of operating in Philadelphia, Leonardo is thrilled the U.S. Navy has selected our TH-119-based offer and us as a local and long-term partner,” Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, said in a statement.

“We are proud to be a core contributor to the future of U.S. defense,” he said.

Last year Leonardo bid the aircraft, then known as the TH-119 model, to replace the TH-57 that had been used for Navy training since the 1980s. It is the first single-engine IFR (instrument flight rules) certified helicopter in production in decades.

Single-engine helicopters have greater movement than aircrafts with multiple engines, and can accomplish fundamental training flights like sliding landings, hovering and full autorotations. They can also accomplish more advanced training flights like NVG (night vision goggles), instruments, navigation, tactics, hoist, external cargo and search and rescue.

Being IFR-certified means the aircraft can competently fly in clouds and weather conditions. Most single-engine helicopters aren’t IFR certified, which requires having system redundancies such as hydraulic systems and weather protection.

Individuals are required to receive 130 hours of flight training on the undergraduate level to “earn their wings” and can move on to other areas such as combat flight.

The majority of the work (87%) will be performed in Philadelphia, with the rest happening in Mineral Wells, Texas and various locations outside of the U.S., according to the contract.

The contract could be extended for an additional 98 aircrafts, increasing the total contract to $648 million.

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