First TH-73A expected in late April 2021
The US Navy and Leonardo Helicopters, Philadelphia reported that the manufacturer is on track to deliver the first of 130 ordered TH-73As to Training Air Wing (TAW) FIVE ("E-xxx") at NAS Whiting Field (FL) late April 2021.
Through 2021, 32 TH-73As, the military variant of the Leonardo AW119Kx Koala, are expected to be delivered. From that moment, the Advanced Helicopter Training System programme can start. So far, 68 TH-73As of the contract of 130 are actually purchased (January 2020, 32 helicopters in the initial contract (USD 176,5 million) and 12 November 2020 36 helicopters, USD 171 million).
As reported before in Scramble News, the TH-73A will rapidly replace the ageing TH-57B/C Sea Rangers of the training wing in a USD 648,1 million contract. Within four years, all Sea Rangers are expected to be replaced. The US Navy plans to Sundown the TH-57B/C fleet in Fiscal Years 2022 through 2024 (so by September 2024 latest). The TH-73As are expected to operate within TAW-5 for some thirty years. The first instructor pilot training began in June 2020, Initial Operating Capability (IOC), when they start training students, will start in 2021. The TH-73A will be the basic training system for student aviators who will go on to fly the US Navy and Marine Corps helicopters as well as those of the US Coast Guard and allied nations.
Photo by Leonardo