Tag Archives: Leonardo

Leonardo: US EMS Operator contracts for first IFR-certified AW119 in the civil market allowing safer operations in challenging weather conditions

  • Life Link III signed a contract for one helicopter with delivery in 3Q2021, adding to an existing fleet of ten AW119Kx
  • The world’s first fully FAA IFR-certified single engine in decades, the type allows safe operations in low visibility and challenging weather conditions combined with high performance and cabin space while keeping single engine economics
  • Over 350 AW119s sold to more than 130 customers in 40 countries to date to perform a wide range of roles including EMS, utility, fire-fighting, law enforcement, passenger transport, training and government/military duties

Leonardo announced today that the EMS operator Life Link III, based in the upper-midwest United States, has placed an order for one IFR-certified AW119 single engine helicopter with a future option for a second aircraft. The aircraft will be added to an existing fleet of ten AW119Kx helicopters delivering in-flight critical care and transporting patients in Minnesota and Wisconsin with over 21,000 total flight hours amassed. Delivery from the AW119 final assembly line in Philadelphia is expected in the third quarter of 2021.

The contract marks the first sale for the FAA certified IFR capable AW119 in the civil market and for emergency medical service roles. The type is the first single engine helicopter in decades to fully meet current IFR requirements without compromise, allowing pilots to operate the aircraft safely in low visibility and challenging weather conditions, thanks to advanced avionics by Genesys Aerosystems and redundant flight systems. The IFR-capable AW119 adds one more option and an ideal IFR entry point for commercial and public service operators who seek for the highest level of safety and performance in demanding conditions while keeping single engine economics. This combines with the AW119’s unique light-twin like multiple redundancies of critical systems and cabin space delivering outstanding reliability and safety.

Steve Sterner, Chief Executive Officer of Life Link III, shared: “Our decision to become the first civilian user of the IFR-certified AW119 fully supports our mission of providing safe and effective air medical transport. The advanced avionics and technology on this aircraft elevate our ability to provide life-saving critical care resources to those in need. With high degrees of performance, safety, speed and efficiency, this aircraft is well-suited to meet the needs of our crew members and patients.”

William Hunt, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters in Philadelphia, said: “We are proud to introduce the IFR-certified variant of the AW119 to the civilian market and to do so with an incredible partner like Life Link III. This aircraft’s advanced technology and dual flight systems will ensure that our first responders are able to fly safely in challenging weather conditions while providing the same accessible, efficient cabin configuration for patient treatment and transport that the AW119 is known for.”

The AW119 has met high standards of operational requirements and mission effectiveness – including NVG capability – since the first aircraft was delivered to Life Link III in early 2014. Life Link III’s IFR AW119 will feature a special cabin interior with an articulated patient loading system, ensuring full patient body access for two medical professionals on board. This latest sale represents the growing share of Leonardo’s helicopters in the North American EMS market, which now totals more than 113 across a fleet of AW119s, AW109s, AW169s and AW139s.

About the A119

Built at Leonardo’s FAA Part 21 production facility in Philadelphia, the AW119 is a best in class single engine helicopter featuring a state-of-the-art avionics system for enhanced situational awareness, mission effectiveness and safety by flight and mission avionics, power margin, multiple system redundancies and crashworthiness. The AW119 is perfectly suited to perform many roles including EMS, utility, fire-fighting, law enforcement, passenger transport, training and government/military duties. Over 350 AW119 helicopters have been sold to over 130 customers in 40 countries. A variant of the AW119 was selected by the United States Navy in January to train the country’s next-generation of naval aviators.

Leonardo AW159 Wildcat helicopter conducts first successful firings of Thales ‘Martlet’ Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM)

Leonardo and Thales are proud to announce the first successful firings of the Thales ‘Martlet’ Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) from Leonardo’s AW159 Wildcat helicopter. The firings were conducted as part of the UK MoD’s Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) programme and demonstrated the integration of the Martlet onto the AW159 platform. This represents a major milestone for the programme and will enable this high-end capability to enter service with the Royal Navy later this year.

The firing trials were conducted from 27th April to 21st May 2020 and despite the current COVID-19 situation, Leonardo and Thales were able to support the UK Ministry of Defence by completing this critical activity. All of the teams involved had to adopt strict distancing procedures, in some cases having to find new ways of working, in order to make sure that the trials could go ahead. It is a testimony to the professionalism of those involved that these trials were successfully completed under such challenging and novel circumstances.

“This major milestone demonstrates that the combination of the AW159 Wildcat and Martlet missile will be a flexible and effective tool for the Royal Navy. Next year the Wildcat fleet will embark on Carrier Strike Group missions with HMS Queen Elizabeth on its maiden operational deployment. As the only British company to design and manufacture helicopters on-shore, we’re extremely proud to be equipping the UK Armed Forces with world-beating sovereign capabilities.” said Nick Whitney, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters (UK).

“The successful live firings of the Thales LMM Martlet from the AW159 Wildcat is a key milestone in the programme, delivering a significant step-change in capability for the platform. LMM Martlet will ensure that the Wildcat has the best-in-class offensive capability to protect HMS Queen Elizabeth and her task group during her maiden operational deployment next year. With each platform capable of carrying up to 20 Martlet, the Wildcats deployed with the task group will be a significant deterrent to anyone wishing to interfere with UK interests.” said Philip McBride, General Manager, Integrated Airspace-protection Systems, Thales UK.

In July 2014, Leonardo signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence to integrate, test and install the MBDA Sea Venom (heavy) and Thales LMM (light) missile systems onto Royal Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopters, a programme called Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW).

The FASGW (light) part of the programme has now seen the LMM, with its associated launcher and airborne laser guidance unit, successfully integrated into the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat sensor, displays and avionics systems. The LMM provides a step-change in capability for the Royal Navy which, in the maritime environment, faces a major challenge in engaging smaller, fast-moving, asymmetric threats, due to their high mobility, their small thermal and radar signatures and the severe background clutter encountered. The LMM is capable of surmounting these issues where traditional electro-optic and radar guidance systems do not provide the certainty of hit required.

On-board the AW159 Wildcat platform, the LMM Martlet could also allow operators to engage air targets such as UAVs and other maritime helicopters.

The launchers are mounted to the AW159 via the new Leonardo Weapon Wing, developed at the Company’s design and manufacturing facility in Yeovil and first trialled last year. Each weapon wing will be able to carry either ten Martlet or two Sea Venom missiles and generates additional lift for the helicopter in forward flight, reducing demands on the main rotor.

The twin-engine multi-role AW159 is able to conduct missions ranging from constabulary to high end warfighting where it has the capability to autonomously detect, identify and attack targets on land and at sea, including submarine threats. The high-performance platform has state-of-the-art systems, including a Leonardo Seaspray multi-mode electronically-scanning (E-scan) radar, and integrated electronic warfare Defensive Aids Suite (DAS).

Over 50,000 flight hours have been logged by the helicopter. The AW159 has also been chosen by the British Army, the Republic of Korea Navy and the Philippine Navy as a new maritime operator of the helicopter.

M-345: Leonardo’s new jet trainer certified and ready for the global market

  • The DAAA (Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness), the certification Authority of the Italian Ministry of Defence, has given the initial certification for Leonardo’s new M-345 trainer 
  • Leonardo’s new M-345, close to entering into service with the Italian Air Force, and future aircraft of the Italian Airforce acrobatic team Frecce Tricolori, is an aircraft capable of providing jet trainer aircraft-like performance and efficiency at the cost of a turboprop
  • The initial certification of the M-345 is the result of intense in-flight and on-ground test activities – which total almost 200 flights, carried out also thanks to the collaboration with the Italian Air Force, aimed at assessing aircraft and equipment compliance with stringent performance and safety standards   

Leonardo is pleased to announce that the DAAA (Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness), the Italian Ministry of Defence’s Certification Authority, has issued the “Initial Certification” for Leonardo’s new M-345 training aircraft. This important achievement for the M-345 programme is the result of intense activities with two hundred dedicated flights logged alongside the critical support of the Italian Air Force’s Flight Test Centre, 61st Wing and 10th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Managing Director of Leonardo Aircraft Division, commented: “The achievement of the Initial Certification for the M-345 – unique in its segment for acquisition and operational costs – confirms the aircraft features excellent characteristics and capabilities and makes it available for the international market. This result stems from a consolidated collaboration between the industry, the Certification Authority and the Italian Air Force under a full national effort and embodies the heritage in training excellence which is widely acknowledged to the Italian Armed Forces.”

The Initial Certification of the M-345 marks the first case of enforcement of the new AER (EP) P-21 rule for a fixed-wing aircraft. This rule adopts the European EMAR-21 – (European Military Airworthiness Requirements) – a stringent international certification requirement that will also be beneficial to the export of the aircraft. 

The M-345, thanks to its performance and advanced integrated training system provides the Air Force with a significant improvement in training effectiveness greater efficiency and a strong operating cost reduction. The new aircraft, designed to meet basic and basic/advanced training needs,  will complement the M-346s used for the advanced phase of pilot training and, in the framework of the “International Flight Training School” project, will support the reinforcement and internationalisation of the training offer launched by Leonardo in partnership with the Italian Air Force.

The Integrated Training system based on the M-345 confirms Leonardo’s world technological leadership in training pilots allocated to current and future generation aircraft, benefiting from the experience and technology already developed for the M-346, including the “Live Virtual Constructive” capability. This allows the integration of the in-flight aircraft with simulated “friend” or “foe” elements, allowing the future pilot to be exposed to the complexity of every possible operational scenario. 

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