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First SAF-powered rotorcraft flight in UAE and Middle East set by Abu Dhabi Aviation’s AW139 commercial helicopter


  • Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) accomplished two flights with a Leonardo AW139 helicopter powered by SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) in Abu Dhabi on 28 and 30 November, marking a first in the UAE and Middle East.

  • ADA and Leonardo are actively committed to reducing the impact that aviation has on global carbon emissions

Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) and Leonardo are pleased to announce today that ADA’s AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter accomplished two flights powered by aviation fuel blended with SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) in Abu Dhabi on 28 and 30 November (the latter carrying on board UAE dignitaries and industry representatives).


These flights using SAF on an ADA commercial helicopter marked a first in the UAE and Middle East. This initiative and achievement demonstrate ADA and Leonardo’s capability and active commitment in reducing the impact that aviation has on global carbon emissions.


In this context, Mr Nader Ahmed Al Hammadi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Aviation, affirmed that Abu Dhabi Aviation is keen on collaborating with its strategic partners to expedite carbon removal from the aviation sector, contribute to achieving the country's climate targets, enhance fuel efficiency, and preserve it. He added, “We reaffirm ADA’s commitment to supporting the UAE's efforts in the aviation sector to ensure sustainable growth and its adoption in the future.”


Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters’ MD, said “The SAF flights in the UAE performed by ADA’s AW139 have shown what’s possible in support of the rapid evolution of sustainability requirements in aviation. This technology can deliver real benefits in the region and widely across geographies, for all missions and can be readily available. We’re committed to joining forces with authorities, energy industry leaders and rotorcraft service providers to incentivise the use of SAF to sustain carbon footprint reduction.”


His Excellency Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the Director General of the General Civil Aviation Authority, stated that the civil aviation sector in the UAE is making significant strides towards enhancing the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and highlighted that the success of the first helicopter flight using SAF is an important step that supports the ongoing efforts towards reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector. He added, “On the twenty-fourth of this month, at the conclusion of the third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels, which was hosted by the UAE, the world witnessed the launch of the Dubai Framework for Sustainable Aviation Fuel, which represents the beginning of the path towards a more sustainable future in aviation, aiming to achieve our ambitious goal of reaching zero emissions by 2050."


ADA and Leonardo have been collaborating for over 15 years with the operator acquiring a total of 33 aircraft to date, most of which are AW139s. Recently, ADA set a 100,000 flight hour milestone with its Leonardo helicopter fleet. The ADA’s fleet of Leonardo helicopters was extended to comprehensive localised support, maintenance, and overhaul services in the UAE around ten years ago with the establishment of the AgustaWestland Aviation Services Joint Venture and subsequent training and simulation capabilities.


 

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Leonardo announces that it will not participate in Hensoldt’s potential capital increase but confirms commitment to partnership project


Leonardo announces that it does not intend to subscribe for the potential capital increase announced by Hensoldt AG ("Hensoldt") as part of its acquisition of the German company ESG Elektroniksystem und Logistik GmbH, although it is fully supportive of its strategic rationale.


Leonardo remains committed to the European partnership project with Hensoldt with the aim of pursuing ever larger collaboration and integration for the strengthening and consolidation of European capabilities in Defence Electronics and Security in Europe.


 

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Leonardo and Pratt & Whitney canada achieve first 100% SAF flight with PT6C-67C-POWERED AW139 helicopter


Leonardo and Pratt & Whitney Canada today announced the successful completion of the first flight for a AW139 intermediate twin helicopter, powered by PT6C-67C engines, using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Accomplished at Leonardo’s facility in Cascina Costa di Samarate (Italy) on 21 November, the 75-minute flight and ground tests evaluated engine performance with multiple power variation and other systems. The test showed an outstanding response to the new fuel with no significant differences compared to the use of Jet A1 fuel.


This goal marks a historic first for both Leonardo’s helicopters and the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine family. Earlier this year in-service AW139 helicopters carried out flights with SAF, blended with traditional jet fuel under the current certification standards, in Japan, Malaysia, and most recently UAE. All main civil-certified types within the Leonardo’s helicopter product range are certified for operations using SAF with a blended ratio of up to 50%.


The 100% SAF demonstration flight of the AW139 is a further testament to the outstanding design and performance of the aircraft and its systems, ranking as the most successful helicopter in its class with an unrivalled and growing impact. With more than 1,100 AW139s in service worldwide and almost 4 million flight hours logged to date, this result shows another tangible benefit of the aircraft’s possibilities to the many operators carrying out missions in all weather and environmental conditions as they aim for more ambitious sustainability goals.


Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said “With this latest result we are demonstrating how we can support the rapid evolution of sustainability requirements in aviation as the industry aims at a greater use of SAF in operations. We did so with the world-class AW139 testifying that this technology allows more sustainable operations keeping the same level of high performance, significantly contributing to lower CO2 emissions. We’re committed to joining forces with aviation partners and suppliers, authorities, energy leaders and rotorcraft service providers to incentivise the use of SAF to sustain carbon footprint reduction.”


“This first flight effectively demonstrates engine functionality and is an important part of our long-standing efforts to support the development of future specifications for 100% SAF, a core part of our sustainable propulsion strategy,
” said Maria Della Posta, president, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “This is the first time a PT6 engine has flown using 100% SAF. This milestone builds on its unrivalled legacy of success and underlines how the engine family can contribute to a more sustainable future in aviation. Since entering the market 60 years ago, the PT6 engine family has clocked more than 500 million flight hours, 8.3 million of which were on PT6C turboshaft engines.”


Note to editors on the AW139 helicopter


The world’s most important helicopter programme since its certification in 2004, the AW139 has logged orders for over 1,300 units from more than 290 operators in over 80 countries to date. The type features state-of-the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins and overall performance, the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration, a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety and up to 1,000 certified kits. The AW139 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C engines that provide exceptional power capability with each engine producing 1,700 shaft horsepower (shp) thermodynamic. The AW139 is supported by advanced digital capabilities for maintenance and training, both in terms of fleet flight data management and simulation for pilots, cabin crews and technicians.


 

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National industry leaders welcome Italy, Japan & UK government agreement on the next generation Global Combat Air Programme


The national defence industry leaders on the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) – Leonardo (Italy), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan) and BAE Systems (UK) - have warmly welcomed the signing of the Convention on the Establishment of the “Global Combat Air Programme - GCAP International Government Organisation (the GIGO)” by their respective governments.


Ministers from Italy, Japan and UK signed the treaty, which marks an important agreement in the shared design and delivery of a next generation fighter aircraft by 2035. The agreement, signed just 12 months since the formation of the GCAP programme, reinforces its momentum and the strong trilateral cooperation amongst the partners.


Discussions on the future joint industrial construct to deliver GCAP are continuing, with representatives from Leonardo, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and BAE Systems meeting recently in Tokyo. In September this year, the industry partners announced a Collaboration Agreement to support ongoing discussions on long-term working arrangements and maturity of the concept and capability requirements for the next generation combat aircraft.


Herman Claesen, Managing Director, Future Combat Air Systems, BAE Systems’ Air sector, said: “We welcome the agreement signed by the governments of Italy, Japan and the UK today, and the continued progress with our industrial partners to advance the future joint business construct that will enable us to deliver the next generation combat aircraft. We’re proud to represent the UK on this exciting and forward-leaning partnership, which will deliver a crucial and affordable defence capability and help to maintain our sovereign combat air skills in the UK.”


Guglielmo Maviglia, Director GCAP programme, Leonardo, said: “We welcome the announcement made by our governments today and we are proud to be part of the GCAP along with our partners. GCAP will see the development of an innovative next generation core platform underpinned by advanced and disruptive technology that is charting a transformational new approach to international industrial collaboration. Through its ambition, the programme will protect and enhance the competitiveness of our industries at international level and will measure the industrial competitiveness of the entire system.”


Hitoshi Shiraishi, Senior Fellow, GCAP, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said: “We would like to very much welcome the signing of the treaty by the governments of Italy, the UK and Japan. In addition, following the conclusion of this treaty, we would like to work even more closely with our partners in Italy and the UK to promote GCAP. We will also work to ensure that GCAP contributes to strengthening Japan’s defence capabilities.”


Today’s GCAP announcement also confirmed the joint GCAP government headquarters will be hosted in the UK and the first CEO will come from Japan. In addition, the future business construct will also be headquartered in the UK and the first leader will be from Italy.


GCAP is a hugely significant programme for the security, political and economic prosperity for Italy, Japan and UK and through effective knowledge and technology transfer will help to evolve and deliver important sovereign combat air capability in each nation for generations to come.
Today, there are around 9000 people working on GCAP worldwide and more than 1000 suppliers across the partner nations.


 

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Leonardo delivers the first C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft to Slovenia​


Leonardo has delivered to the Slovenian Ministry of Defence the first of two C-27J Next Generation aircraft, contracted following the Italy-Slovenia Government-to-Government (G2G) Agreement, which was signed on 17 November 2021. The aircraft it is equipped with advanced avionics equipped with a glass cockpit with five multifunction colour screens, a radar for tactical transport missions, communication systems, a satellite system, ballistic protection, and winglets which further increase its aerodynamic performance.


Within the framework of the G2G Agreement between the two countries, Leonardo and the Air Armaments and Airworthiness Directorate of the Secretariat General of Defence / National Armaments Directorate have signed two contracts over the last two years, each of the contracts includes one aircraft plus logistics and training services. The selection of the C-27J by the Slovenian Ministry of Defence fully meets a variety of operational needs in terms of transport and projection capabilities in international operations. This is in addition to supporting the national community for rescue, disaster relief, and fire-fighting duties. The Slovenian programme intends to use the C-27J in the new fire-fighting configuration, equipped with the latest generation MAFFS II (Modular Airborne Fire-Fighting System) palletized fire-fighting system from United Aeronautical Corporation, a world leader in aerial fire-fighting application systems.


The system architecture of the C-27J Next Generation ensures a cost-effective solution for all the tactical operational requirements expressed by the market, ensuring, among other things, interoperability with other higher category transport aircraft. To meet operator needs, the aircraft's modular architecture allows integration with in-flight refuelling, self-protection, secure communications and ballistic protection systems to operate in high-threat environments, transporting materials, light vehicles, and personnel. Thanks to the versatility of the platform, the C-27J can in fact be rapidly reconfigured, by means of kits and roll-on/roll-off mission systems in the configuration necessary to carry out defence and civil protection missions, in line with emerging market demands.


With over 90 units ordered to operate in the most challenging geographical, environmental, and operational contexts, Leonardo's Spartan continues to grow in capacity and performance, thanks to its design and intrinsic versatility and is able to perform with maximum effectiveness and cost competitive military transport missions, airdrop of paratroopers and materials, tactical support to ground forces, special forces operations, Maritime Patrol (MP), Command-Control-Communications (C3), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconaissance (ISR) and for operations of humanitarian/aero-medical assistance and support to populations impacted by environmental disasters.


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Leonardo signs MoU with the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia for aerospace and defence collaboration opportunities




  • The agreement was signed with the Ministry of Investment and the General Authority for Military Industries and announced at World Defence Show in Riyadh

  • The MoU covers a broad range of sectors in which Leonardo has strong technological capabilities, including space, rotorcraft, electronics and sensors, Combat Air, Cross-Domain Integration, uncrewed systems, digital technologies, industrialization and services




The Ministry of Investment (MISA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) of the Kingdom and Leonardo announced yesterday the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the intention to discuss, develop and evaluate a range of investment and collaboration opportunities in the defence and aerospace sector. The announcement was made during an official ceremony held at the World Defence Show (Riyadh, 4-8 February).


Multiple areas of collaboration will be considered and explored under the MoU to include space industry, airframe MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul), localisation of electronic warfare systems and radars and assembly of helicopters. This MoU also offers the parties a focus on specialised areas of collaboration in both Combat Air and Cross-Domain Integration fields, where Leonardo is active on next generation technology initiatives and enabling demonstration projects. These areas could include uncrewed systems, integrated sensors, digital technologies, industrialisation processes and human capital development. The parties will also explore opportunities for the national supply chain in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and, more extensively, the country’s role for Leonardo in the region as well as the global value chain.


According to Stefano Pontecorvo, Chairman of Leonardo, "This signing represents an important opportunity to consolidate defence cooperation and strengthen a joint vision for future Combat Air operations. But it also represents a platform through which to jointly develop new technologies, through the experience and capabilities of the parties."


Lorenzo Mariani, Leonardo’s Co-General Manager, said “We’re extremely pleased with this achievement announcing this MoU with MISA and GAMI. It allows us to develop a thorough evaluation of new collaboration opportunities in a wide range of fields, leveraging over 50 years of Leonardo’s presence and strong cooperation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We’re committed to working together to explore how we can strengthen our level of partnership with the Kingdom with high tech solutions and localised R&D, industrial and service capabilities.”


Over decades, Leonardo has been supplying to the Kingdom platforms, systems, technologies and services including passenger transport, energy support and rescue rotorcraft, electronic systems and sensors, maritime defence and cyber capabilities as well as providing a key contribution in the air defence domain, among others. This latest agreement represents the most recent step of Leonardo to reinforce its activities in the Kingdom, starting from the set up a regional hub in the Kingdom and creating new and multiple collaboration opportunities in a variety of sectors, benefitting from its long-established presence.


Collaborating with local technological partners, research establishments and end-users, Leonardo will be able to generate sustained development and production in the country. The MoU will significantly contribute to the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aimed at the implementation of unprecedented reforms in the public sector, diversifying the economy, empowering citizens and businesses to reach their full potential and creating innovative growth opportunities.


 

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Leonardo: kick off for the project of the first Space Cloud System for defense


Supercomputers, artificial intelligence, and cloud are aboard a constellation of cyber-secure satellites orbiting the Earth this is the objective of the "Military Space Cloud Architecture" (MILSCA) study project assigned to Leonardo by the Italian Ministry of Defense (through the contractual agency Teledife), as part of the National Military Research Plan (PNRM).


For the first time in Europe, similar to what happens with the terrestrial cloud, the project intends to define a space architecture capable of providing government and national Armed Forces with high-performance computing and storage capacity directly in space.


The system, designed with integrated cyber security models, will guarantee greater speed and flexibility in the processing and sharing information. The Space Cloud, which will be tested by creating a digital twin of the architecture, will be able to store over 100 Terabytes of data generated on Earth and in space on board each constellation satellite. It can perform processing with a power exceeding 250 TFLOPS (250 thousand billion operations per second) at single precision, adopting advanced algorithms which use artificial intelligence, machine learning techniques, and extensive data analysis. They can also communicate and exchange data autonomously with other satellites.


A cyber-secure supercomputer and archive system in space will guarantee users access to strategic data such as communication, earth observation, and navigation data, anywhere, even in the most remote places, and at any time. Furthermore, a Space Cloud system significantly reduces data processing times, which is processed directly in orbit, providing real-time information, and thus facilitating multi-domain and multi-nation operations. The transmission networks will be left free for other connections thanks to the only transfer of information of interest to Earth. In addition, storing data in orbit will also represent a useful back-up of the Earth centers, which are most exposed to natural disasters.


The project sees Leonardo at the forefront with the participation of the joint ventures Telespazio (67% Leonardo, 33% Thales) and Thales Alenia Space (67% Thales, 33% Leonardo). With a duration of 24 months, the study includes a first phase for defining the architecture and a second phase that will end with developing a digital twin of the satellite with the HPC and the multi-constellation satellite terminal demonstrator. The goal is to simulate the different application scenarios in a digital environment. These tests will be carried out thanks to Leonardo's supercomputer, the davinci-1, among the first aerospace and defense HPCs in the world in terms of computing power and performance. The study will be a precursor to a further experimental phase, which, if confirmed, will involve the deployment in orbit of a demonstrative constellation of satellites.


Space Cloud is a hi-tech and multi-domain project, which takes advantage of Leonardo's combined capabilities in data acquisition, management, and cyber protection, as well as artificial intelligence and supercomputing with the HPC davinci-1; the development of MILSCA is the first project in the Space domain that fits within the growth guidelines of Leonardo's new Industrial Plan.


"In a multi-domain scenario, management, security, and rapid exchange of an ever-increasing amount of data, much of which is tactical, become strategic elements for the country's defense. We will be the first in Europe to develop a Space Cloud project, demonstrating feasibility and benefits deriving from the use of an architecture of this type and enabling a new paradigm of cloud & edge computing,” said Simone Ungaro, Leonardo's Chief Innovation Officer. “Leonardo's know-how will allow the development of a Space Cloud network to contribute to digitalization and technological innovation processes, responding to future challenges to guarantee the needs of government and national Armed Forces."


The Space Cloud for Defense project also sets the basis for future uses to support civil Earth observation programs and space exploration missions to the Moon and Mars, which could benefit from an in-orbit cloud computing architecture to download and process data more quickly.


 

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DSTA partners Leonardo to pursue technology innovation, people development and long-term supportability


Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and Leonardo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Singapore Airshow on 20 February 2024.


The partnership will see the two organisations collaborate to advance technology innovation, foster talent development, and build up the long-term supportability of Leonardo systems operated by the Singapore Armed Forces.


Under the MOU, DSTA will collaborate with Leonardo – one of the market leaders in designing and supplying systems and products for naval defence and maritime surveillance – in harnessing the company’s expertise in naval gun and underwater technologies to explore use cases for Singapore’s context. DSTA also aims to nurture local talent through internship programmes and technical domain courses in areas of Leonardo’s expertise. In addition, both parties will explore building technical support to enhance the system service level further. DSTA’s Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) Mr Roy Chan said, “DSTA continues to be focused in delivering cutting-edge solutions through innovation and bolstering the technical proficiencies of our people. We look forward to a fruitful partnership with Leonardo – I’m confident that this collaboration will propel us to new heights, ensuring our team is well-equipped to address the dynamic challenges in this complex world.”


“Thanks to consolidated experience and continuous investment in key technologies, such as digitization, Leonardo is able to respond to surveillance and control needs of the surface and underwater space, both domains characterized by complex scenarios,”
said Mr Marco De Fazio, Managing Director of Leonardo’s Electronics Division. “This agreement with DSTA is an important step to further spread the knowledge of our systems and to explore together future growth potential.”


 

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Bristow Signs New AW189 Framework Agreement Including Firm Orders for 10 AW189 Helicopters


The new Framework Agreement includes 10 firm orders plus 10 options supporting Bristow fleet expansion plans from 2025 to 2028

The deal underscores Bristow’s success with the AW189 over the years – the most successful super medium helicopter in the market for offshore transport and other roles



Leonardo and Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: VTOL), the leading global provider of innovative and sustainable vertical flight solutions, announced a framework agreement including firm orders for 10 AW189 super medium helicopters plus 10 options.


Bristow is currently operating 21 AW189 helicopters globally with another five due off the assembly line in 2024. The new framework agreement covers a fleet expansion plan for the 2025-2028 period. Bristow uses the AW189 in its Offshore Energy Services business line as well as in its Government Services business line supporting search and rescue operations in the U.K., the Netherlands, and beginning in 2025 in Ireland. The leading super medium AW189 delivers modern and safe long range, high endurance, and high capacity, similar to larger- and heavier-type helicopters, while allowing lower operating costs.


Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director for Leonardo Helicopters, said: “This latest step supporting our key partner Bristow is further testament to the outstanding capabilities of the AW189 as the aircraft of choice in its category for energy support missions among prime operators and countries. We’re proud to continue to provide our contribution to Bristow with this type, its technology and support solutions.”


Leonardo and Bristow have collaborated for more than 28 years with Bristow using a range of aircraft types including the AW119 single engine, AW109 light twin, AW139 intermediate twin, and AW189 super medium. Bristow’s fleet of Leonardo helicopters will account for nearly 110 units with the arrival of these additional 10 AW189 helicopters.


In 2022, the companies signed a 10-year global service agreement for Bristow’s offshore fleet, applying to their AW139 and AW189 fleet, in operation across the globe. This unique service agreement is intended to deliver more efficient overall logistics and savings to the operator, highlighting the value of Leonardo logistic service offerings, increasing performance across geographies.


Belonging to the AWFamily of products, the AW189 (8.3/8.6 tonne) combines superior payload and range with advanced technologies to successfully operate a wide range of missions such as search and rescue, energy industry support, passenger transport, firefighting, and law enforcement. Unique features of the helicopter include the capability of the main transmission to run without oil for 50 minutes and a built-in auxiliary power unit. The AW189 is available with more than 200 certified kits and delivered with a comprehensive support and training service package tailored to meet specific customer requirements to maximize mission effectiveness and safety of operations. The type is also certified for an automatic data transmission system enabling the aircraft to transmit performance data to a ground station using satellite communication in flight, 4G cell connectivity, or Wi-Fi when on the ground. It offers a secure way to share an accurate picture of each flight so that Leonardo experts can assess data quickly, thus optimizing maintenance and support. Over 140 AW189s have been ordered, and more than 90 delivered to operators worldwide to date. After 10 years since its certification, the AW189 remains the world’s most successful super-medium category helicopter by market size, number of operators, countries, and applications.


 

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LEONARDO and THC announce substantial helicopter fleet expansion plan in KSA


Contract for 20 AW139s plus multiyear Framework Agreement for over 130 helicopters of various types.

THC will significantly strengthen EMS/SAR and passenger transport missions in the country.


Leonardo and THC (The Helicopter Company), owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, announced yesterday a substantial growth of their collaboration with an order for 20 AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopters and a multi-year Framework Agreement for over 130 aircraft. The announcement was made during an official ceremony held at Heli-Expo 2024 in Anaheim, CA.


The contract for 20 AW139s aims at primarily strengthening the emergency medical service (EMS) and search and rescue (SAR) fleet in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with deliveries expected to be carried out in 2025 and 2026. The Framework Agreement for over 130 aircraft includes a mix of AW109s, AW169s, AW139s and AW189Ks for various applications, with a first batch of orders foreseen by the first half of this year and delivery positions to THC over five to seven years.


The intention to procure these latest 20 AW139s was announced at Heli-Expo 2023. By the time all these latest firmly ordered AW139s are delivered, THC will have a total fleet of approximately 50 AW139s carrying out a range of missions including EMS, SAR and corporate transport in the country, making THC one of the largest AW139 operators globally.


“We’re proud of this THC’s massive helicopter fleet expansion plan leveraging our technology,” said Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters. “Our state-of-the-art platforms will support their service capability growth program with key life-saving and transport missions for the communities they serve.”


The AW139, the world’s most important helicopter program since its certification in 2004 and the bestselling type in its category, has logged orders for more than 1400 units from over 290 customers in over 90 countries to date. The fleet of over 1200 units in service has now exceeded 4 million flight hours. The type has proven extremely successful in the Middle East with almost 200 units sold across the region for the widest scope of missions including corporate transport, emergency medical service, search and rescue, law enforcement, offshore transport, government duties. The AW139 delivers outstanding capabilities, technology and safety to meet stringent requirements from operators for tasks in harsh conditions to maximize effectiveness.


The type features state-of-the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins, and overall performance. In addition, this type includes the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration, a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety and up to 1000 certified kits.


The addition of the AW169 and AW189K to the THC’s fleet in the future will allow the operator to benefit from the unique advantages of the AW Family concept based on shared design, components, support and training approach with unprecedented fleet management efficiency and versatility.


 

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Leonardo and Metro Aviation sign distributor agreement for the AW09 helicopter in north America with committment for 30 units


Metro will act as Leonardo distributor for the AW09 in the US and Canadian civil markets for all applications

Leonardo and Metro Aviation, a prime privately-owned HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) operator and service provider in the US, have announced the signing of a Distributor Agreement for the AW09 next generation single engine helicopter. Metro will act as a Leonardo distributor for the type in the US and Canada for all civil market applications. The Distributor Agreement includes a commitment for 30 units that will translate into Preliminary Sales Contracts.


This latest deal builds on the collaboration started at Heli-Expo 2023 aimed at supporting the introduction and positioning of the AW09 in the USA and in doing so, benefitting from Metro Aviation’s renowned experience and capabilities in the development of Aircraft Interior & STCs (supplemental type certificates), service and training.


Gian Piero Cutillo, MD of Leonardo Helicopters, said “We’re excited to perform this further step forward in our collaboration with Metro which paves the path to the introduction of our new single engine in the important North American market. Also, combining our industrial capabilities with Metro Aviation’s extensive and recognized experience in operations and support enhances the AW09 value proposition, providing superior mission capabilities to the operators of this platform.“


"I first saw the 09 prototype in 2017 and have been excited about bringing it to the U.S. market since then,"
said Metro Aviation President and CEO Mike Stanberry. "Metro has enjoyed a great partnership with Leonardo and designed multiple interiors for the 09. We look forward to integrating it into our fleet and performing completions for air medical, law enforcement, tourism, and beyond."


The AW09 continues to generate a very positive response from all geographies worldwide as the programme development progresses. Rotorcraft companies highly welcome the AW09 for its outstanding characteristics and multirole capabilities that represent a significant evolution compared to existing products in this category. The AW09 perfectly complements Leonardo’s product range in the Long Light Single-segment, introducing an all-new design aircraft to sustain long-term competitive positioning in this weight category. A full-scale mock-up of the cabin, together with the advanced connectivity and digital features of the type, is on display at the Leonardo booth at Heli-Expo, attracting lots of interest within the rotorcraft community thanks to its distinguished features in cabin space and ergonomics, and external footprint. The total number of Preliminary Sales Contracts for the AW09 will soon exceed 100 units globally.


 

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LEONARDO and SLOANE strengthen partnership in the UK and Ireland commercial helicopter market with AW09 and AW109 types deals


The AW09 helicopter’s global market success extends to UK and Ireland with preliminary sales contracts for nine units by Sloane


Two AW109 GrandNew + two Trekker order confirms Leonardo’s leading position in the VIP/Corporate and light twin market segments in the region



Leonardo and Sloane announced at Heli-Expo 2024 a major reinforcement of their collaboration in the UK and Ireland commercial helicopter market with the signing of Preliminary Sales Contracts for nine AW09 next-generation single engine aircraft, and new orders for two AW109 Grand New and two AW109 Trekker light twins.


The Preliminary Sales Contracts for the AW09 add Sloane to the number of global partners who have chosen the all-new type. Sloane joins the consensus around the AW09 programme and market potential and, as established European distributors of Leonardo helicopters, are intending to extend their collaboration and distributorship mandates to include the AW09 in the continent. With this latest achievement, the AW09 world market success extends to UK and Ireland following announcements of partnerships and distribution agreements already made in North and Latin America, Africa and Asia in 2023, some leading to end-user orders. The total number of Preliminary Sales Contracts will soon exceed 100 units globally.


David George, Chairman of Sloane, said “On the back of record AW109 deliveries we are excited to embark on the next step of our journey with Leonardo with the AW09, an all-new airframe which represents a technological leap forward in the single turbine market. I was present at the AW09’s initial ground runs some 10 years ago, and look forward to introducing the UK and Ireland market to its class leading characteristics. We are confident it will become the benchmark aircraft in its category, along with our current Leonardo offerings.”


The AW09 continues to generate a very positive response from all geographies worldwide as the programme development progresses. Rotorcraft companies highly welcome the AW09 for its outstanding characteristics and multirole capabilities that represent a significant evolution compared to existing products in this category. The AW09 perfectly complements Leonardo’s product range in the Long Light Single-segment, introducing an all-new design aircraft to sustain long-term competitive positioning in this weight category. A full-scale mock-up of the cabin, together with the advanced connectivity and digital features of the type, is on display at the Leonardo booth at Heli-Expo, attracting lots of interest within the rotorcraft community thanks to its distinguished features in cabin space and ergonomics, and external footprint.


The AW109 series continue to be highly popular in Sloane’s reference markets particularly for VIP/Corporate transport. As the Leonardo’s regional distributor, Sloane has taken delivery of a total 14 AW109s in the 2022-2023 period and plans to receive six more this year. Under the latest order for four new AW109s, deliveries are expected to be performed in 2025 and 2026.


In July 2022, Sloane confirmed its Distributor Agreement for the 2022-2024 timeframe, covering both types and the AW169 light intermediate twin model. The long-term success between Sloane Helicopters and Leonardo was established in 1995, when Sloane became the sole distributor of Leonardo VIP/corporate helicopter in the UK and Ireland. Under this collaboration, over 110 Leonardo commercial helicopters have been delivered to operators and private users in the UK and Ireland. The Distributorship Agreement has provided customers with continued benefits by dramatically reducing delivery times and providing customers with product expertise and a full range of support packages, which also helps Leonardo to maintain its position as leader in the executive/private transport market in the UK and Ireland, among other applications. This has been further reinforced following the launch of the new Agusta VIP brand in late 2021 with its exclusive features and all-new service offer. Sloane Helicopters is also an Authorised Service Centre, providing maintenance and support services for the majority of GrandNew and all AW169 VIP helicopters in the region. Additionally, Sloane is a Type Rating Training centre for Leonardo helicopters in the UK.


 

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Leonardo to equip Canadian Armed Forces with counter-drone technology




  • The Falcon Shield Counter-Uncrewed Aerial System (C-UAS) will safeguard Canadian airspace, installations and people against the threat posed by rogue drones

  • Its acquisition by Canada follows Falcon Shield’s success in-service with the UK Armed Forces, where it has ensured the protection of critical assets and national security

  • Leonardo’s counter-drone technology (ACUS- Enhanced System) is on contract also with the Italian Armed Forces and its modular, scalable systems are readily exportable worldwide



Leonardo has been awarded a contract by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to provide its Falcon Shield C-UAS system for operation by the Canadian Armed Forces. The company will provide a number of systems and a 10-year sustainment package that includes options for additional equipment and the spiral development of new capabilities. First systems will be delivered later this year with the Canadian Armed Forces that will immediately deploy Falcon Shield to forward operating bases to protect deployed personnel.


Falcon Shield is the UK’s operationally-proven solution to the growing threat from group 1 to 3 (smaller, slower and lower flying) UAS, which are usually undetectable by conventional air surveillance equipment. Using a mix of advanced sensors from Leonardo and industry partners, the system rapidly detects, tracks and prioritises threats and gives operators the means to neutralise them effectively.
Produced at Basildon and Southampton sites, Falcon Shield is in service with the UK’s Armed Forces, is trusted by close allies on operations and is readily available for export customers worldwide. Leonardo continues to update Falcon Shield to ensure it remains cutting-edge in a rapidly evolving security landscape.


For its UK Royal Air Force (RAF) customer, Leonardo has delivered seven complete baseline counter-drone systems (called ORCUS in RAF service) for the service’s ‘Synergia’ research and development programme.


The RAF is also employing these systems as a national standby capability in support of the Emergency Services. In this role, the RAF has operated Leonardo counter-UAS technology during a number of high-profile events including the 2021 G7 summit in Cornwall and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth games. During Christmas 2018, Falcon Shield has been deployed at both London Gatwick and Heathrow airports following suspected drone sightings, allowing air operations to resume.


Leonardo has also been working with the United States Armed Forces as part of the ongoing collaboration between the UK and US on counter-drone research and development. Under this partnership, the company has integrated the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)’s NINJA technology into the RAF ORCUS system and demonstrated its ability to detect dozens of small drone platforms in the airspace around airbases and then mitigate them.


Leonardo will be operating Falcon Shield at Canada’s ‘Counter Uncrewed Aerial Systems Sandbox 2024’ exercise, being held in Suffield, Alberta this June, where it will counter drones flown by the Canadian Armed Forces’ ‘red team’ operators.


 

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Bell and Leonardo Enter into Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to evaluate cooperation opportunities in the tiltrotor technology domain


Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, and Leonardo S.p.A., have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to evaluate cooperation opportunities in the tiltrotor technology domain.


As global leaders in designing, manufacturing, and supporting rotorcraft for commercial and military applications, Bell and Leonardo share a multi-decade history of industrial cooperation on both traditional helicopters as well as tiltrotor technology collaboration.


The cooperative effort will begin in earnest with the NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) Concept Study #5, where Leonardo will take the lead on a tiltrotor architecture proposal with Bell in support.


“This cooperative effort between Bell and Leonardo reflects our shared vision that next generation rotorcraft will be influenced by the speed, range and manoeuvrability only tiltrotor technology can deliver,” said Lisa Atherton, president and CEO, Bell. “We are proud to deepen our relationship with Leonardo as we continue to explore emerging vertical lift programs in Europe and the United States.


Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said “We’re thrilled to evaluate new joint efforts for the next generation of rotorcraft technologies, based on our solid and shared view of the unique advantages of tiltrotors. Leonardo has always firmly endorsed tiltrotor technologies to meet evolving rotorcraft requirements, even more so as new needs emerge in the market.”


 

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LEONARDO AND FLIGHTSAFETY INTERNATIONAL TO EVALUATE COLLABORATIONS IN THE FIELD OF HELICOPTER TRAINING AND SIMULATION IN THE UNITED STATES


Leonardo and FlightSafety International (FSI) have announced at Heli-Expo 2024 the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to evaluate a range of potential collaborations in the field of training and simulation in the United States.
Under the MoU, the partners will evaluate the potential design, production, sale and operation of training devices for use at FlightSafety, Leonardo’s helicopter sites or third-party facilities.


The MoU enables multiple helicopters type to be considered, enabling the partners to benefit from respective simulation and training capabilities and presence in the US and internationally.


Furthermore, the partners would discuss the potential appointment of FlightSafety’s training entities or divisions as Leonardo Authorized Training Centres for the supply of training services using the training devices.


The MoU potentially paves the path to a major boost in best-in-class helicopter training services for modern and successful Leonardo helicopter types leveraging the established expertise of FlightSafety and Leonardo in localized training and simulation technologies and services to meet existing and emerging market requirements.


 

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