The US Navy has awarded AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp. a $110.5 million contract to buy the final 26 helicopters under the Advanced Helicopter Training System program.
The contract will see the company deliver the fourth lot of TH-73A training helicopters from its Philadelphia facility by December 2024.
The TH-73A is replacing the aging fleet of TH-57B/C Sea Rangers, and will serve as the first training aircraft of Student Naval Aviators at NAS Whiting Field in Milton, FL, where all student helicopter pilots for the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard train along with several NATO-allied nations.
Based on the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) certified variant of the commercial AW119Kx, the TH-73A is suited for initial training flights, but can also support advanced training. With a Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engine, dual safety and hydraulic systems and digital avionics by Genesys Aerosystems, Leonardo says the TH-73 can perform every maneuver in the US Navy’s training syllabus.
The service ordered the first 32 helicopters from Leonardo through AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp. in January 2020. In November 2020, a second lot of 36 aircraft were ordered through a $171 million USD contract modification and in December 2021, a third lot of 36 aircraft were ordered through a 159.4 million USD contract modification.
The latest contract award brings the total number of helicopters on order to 130.
First students have been training on the nicknamed the Thrasher, as the new helicopter has been named by the navy, since September this year. The first of those students also completed their inaugural solo flights in November.
Compared to the TH-57B/C Sea Rangers, the Thrasher boasts increased performance in power, speed, payload, and endurance.
In addition to new helicopters, the full Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) includes aircrew training services that provide availability on new simulators, a modernized curriculum, and a new contractor logistics support contract for Thrasher maintenance and flight line support.