The United States Navy (USN) has selected the Italian Leonardo AW119 "Koala" light utility helicopter to become its next helicopter trainer. The product is a further development of the earlier AW109 of 1976 and represents a more modern offering, the original models debuting in 2000. To date (2020), about 300 units of the AW119 have been produced for global use. The AW119 in USN service is designated as the "TH-73" (specific models include the "TH-73A" operational form) and is currently being evaluated by Navy airmen out of Leonardo's Philadelphia facility (2020). The project resides under the "Advanced Helicopter Training System" (AHTS) name.
The AW119 was selected by the service to succeed an aging line of TH-57 "Sea Ranger" light utility types (B- and C-models), these based in the popular Cold War-era Bell Model 206 (also operated by the U.S. Army as the "Kiowa") and having served the USN for some 35 years. The Model 206 series was itself introduced in 1967. The TH-57 fleet will begin retirement during 2022.
A TH-73 prototype form made its maiden flight on December 20th, 2018 and was formally selected by the USN on January 13th, 2020. The helicopters are produced by Leonardo, formally AgustaWestland, through the Philadelphia-based "AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corporation" with deliveries to the Navy expected to run from 2020 until 2024. The product will be used to serve in the training of helicopter airmen belonging to the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard branches for the next three decades.
The specific TH-73A operational model is based in the modernized, improved AW119 Mk.II form which sees an increase to Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW), improved fuel efficiency, greater overall power / performance, and sports an all-new rotor design. The Navy's version also incorporates a Genesys Aerosystems digital "glass" cockpit.
The helicopter seats a crew of two (instructor and student) in a side-by-side cockpit arrangement and can carry a further three passengers in the compartment behind. Power is from a single Pratt & Whitney PT6B-37A turboshaft engine driving a four-bladed main rotor overhead and a two-bladed tail rotor facing port side. Dimensions include a length of 42.4 feet, a diameter of 35.5 feet, and a height of 10.8 feet. Weight starts at 3,325lb unloaded. Performance specifications include a maximum speed of 152 knots, a ceiling up to 15,000 feet, and a range out to 357 nautical miles.
The helicopter's form is conventional with a heavily windowed fuselage offering excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit. Entry to the cockpit seats is by way of hinged automobile-style doors along either side of the forward fuselage section. The cockpit sits behind a short, rounded nosecone. The engine is installed in a housing over the passenger cabin and features a short mast. Passenger access is through traditional sliding doors on the fuselage sides. The tail stem houses a drive shaft running to the tail rotor. The stem also showcases horizontal planes and is capped by a dorsal and ventral vertical plane. For ground-running, the helicopter makes use of a simple four-point landing skid.
July 2020 - The United States Navy has begun early training with the TH-73A helicopter trainer out of Leonardo's facility in Philadelphia, USA.
November 2020 - The USN has ordered a second production batch of TH-73A training helicopters from Leonardo. The order covers 36 total airframes.
Status Active, Limited Service
Production 46 Units
Leonardo - Italy
- Advanced Training
42.49 ft (12.95 m)
35.60 ft (10.85 m)
11.81 ft (3.6 m)
3,329 lb (1,510 kg)
6,283 lb (2,850 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Leonardo TH-73A AHTS production model)
1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PT6B-37A turboshaft engine developing 1,000 horsepower driving four-bladed main rotor unit and two-bladed tail rotor unit (facing port side).
175 mph (282 kph; 152 kts)
15,010 feet (4,575 m; 2.84 miles)
525 miles (845 km; 456 nm)
1,800 ft/min (549 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Leonardo TH-73A AHTS production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Leonardo TH-73A AHTS production model)
TH-73 - Base Series Designation.
TH-73A - Initial production model of 2020.
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