The US Navy’s first TH-73A Thrasher training helicopter has arrived at NAS Whiting Field-South near Milton in Florida, the US.
The helicopter flew from Leonardo Helicopters’ Philadelphia facility to the base.
In June, Leonardo Helicopters delivered the first of 130 TH-73A training helicopters to the US Navy.
In January last year, Leonardo was awarded an initial contract of approximately $177m for 32 TH-73A aircraft by the US Department of Defense (DoD).
The remaining 31 Thrashers will be delivered this calendar year.
The DoD exercised options for an additional 36 helicopters in November the same year.
The total requirement is for 130 aircraft, with deliveries to continue through 2024.
Naval Undergraduate Flight Training Systems Program Office (PMA-273) programme manager captain Holly Shoger said: “This delivery signifies a new era for Naval Aviation training.
“The combined government and contractor team set new standards to meet much needed requirements in the fleet. We are proud to develop and provide these new capabilities that will improve pilot training for many years to come.”
The TH-73A features an advanced avionics suite with a fully integrated flight management system and an automatic flight control system.
It also incorporates an independent, digital cockpit displays to both pilot stations.
TW-5 AHTS Fleet Integration Team (FIT) officer in charge commander Dustin Robbins said: “The simple cockpit design and layout, pushbutton and toggle switch interface, advanced navigation and communication capabilities, and rapid control response make it the ideal training aircraft and the perfect steppingstone to any service rotary wing platform.
“With its all-digital cockpit and fully integrated Flight Management System coupled with superior power and speed margins, the TH-73A is a lot of fun to fly.”
The TH-73A is based on the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)-certified variant of the commercial AW119Kx.
It will serve as the Undergraduate Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) for current and future student aviators for the US Navy (USN), US Marine Corps (USMC), US Coast Guard and Nato allies.
Equipped with a Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engine, the AHTS will modernise navy training technology, taking it from analogue to digital.
It is designed to serve aviation students until 2050 or longer.