Leonardo's TH-119 completed its first “power on” of its Genesys Aerosystems avionics at the manufacturer's Philadelphia plant. The company is calling this development “another major milestone” in the single-engine helicopter’s FAA certification process. The TH-119 is expected to perform its maiden flight in the next couple months and to achieve FAA certification in the first quarter of 2019.
Leonardo is proposing the TH-119 to the U.S. Navy as a replacement for the aging TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopter. Also in contention are the Bell 407GXi and the Airbus Helicopters H135. The Navy plans to begin buying new trainers in fiscal year 2020, and expects to be totally divested of the TH-57 by 2023.
Leonardo's TH-119. Photo Courtesy Leonardo
A dedicated variant of the successful AW119 commercial helicopter, the TH-119 is specifically designed to meet the Navy’s requirements for a new military training helicopter. The new avionics system and cockpit allow essential instrument flight rules (IFR) operations, which the Navy will require at the time of proposal submission.
“This event marks a major step forward in the integration of the all new avionics into the only IFR operations-capable single engine helicopter, as we get close to more extensive ground and flight testing activities towards FAA certification early next year,” said William Hunt, CEO of Leonardo subsidiary AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corporation.
Along with new avionics, the completed TH-119 will boast an additional 180-degree adjustable trainer observation seat at the base of the instrument panel, giving the occupant a full view of the cockpit; full night vision device (NVD)-compatible cockpit and cabin, with high-visibility doors and a low-profile instrument panel to ensure maximum visibility; reinforced skids with replaceable skid shoes to support the multiple repetitions of touchdown training maneuvers; and a five-fuel cell option that provides more than five hours of flight time, with a pressure refueling port allowing for less downtime to refuel as well as “hot” refueling while the engine is still running.