The US Department of Defense announced on November 12 that it had contracted AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corporation – a subsidiary of Leonardo – to deliver an additional 36 TH-73A training helicopters to the US Navy.
The US$171m contract award exercises options for the production and delivery of 36 more TH-73As under the US Navy’s Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) programme, adding to the 32 examples already on order. Contract work is expected to be completed in December 2022 and will be performed at the company’s facilities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Mineral Wells, Texas; and various locations outside the continental US.
Based on Leonardo Helicopters’ AW119Kx, the TH-73A was selected to supply the US Navy with a new generation of training helicopters under the AHTS programme on January 13, 2020. The platform will replace the navy’s matured fleet of Bell TH-57B/C Sea Rangers, which have trained helicopter and tiltrotor pilots across the US Navy, US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard since 1968.
In total, the service intends to acquire a total fleet of 130 TH-73As, with 68 having been ordered so far. It is anticipated that the platform will achieve initial operational capability (IOC) in 2021 and will fulfil helicopter and tiltrotor pilot training requirements through 2050.