Gian Piero Cutillo
The Qatar Emiri Air Force’s NH90 helicopter programme marked a major milestone last week with first flights performed in Italy and France. The first NH90 NATO frigate helicopter (NFH), assembled at Leonardo’s Venice Tessera facility, and the first tactical troop transport (TTH) over-land aircraft, assembled at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane site, took to the air on 15th and 18th of December respectively. The flights allowed crews to evaluate general handling and basic systems and the helicopters performed as expected. NH90 helicopter programme Qatar’s NH90 programme includes 16 NH90 TTHs for land operations, 12 NH90 NFHs for naval missions, a comprehensive support, maintenance & training services package and associated infrastructure. The programme has the potential to be extended in the future with the addition of 6+6 units in a mixture of TTH and NFH variants. Leonardo is prime contractor for the overall programme and is also responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters from its Venice Tessera facility in Italy. The company is also supplying simulators, training aids and an extensive maintenance support and training services package for aircrews and maintenance technicians. Avionics and sensor payloads integration The NH90 is set to provide the Qatar Ministry of Defence an important and longstanding customer" Leonardo is providing, contributing to or supporting the integration of various avionics and sensor payloads, including the Leonardo LEOSS-T HD electro-optical system, HD Mission Video Recorder, Automatic Identification System, Tactical video link and Full HD display for cabin consoles. Airbus Helicopters is responsible for carrying out the final assembly of the 16 NH90 TTH aircraft. Acceptance of the first batch of NH90s by the Qatar Emiri Air Force is scheduled to start before the end of 2021, with the last helicopter planned to be delivered in 2025. Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said “We’re extremely pleased to celebrate this important achievement as we continue to work to deliver this programme. The NH90 is set to provide the Qatar Ministry of Defence, an important and longstanding customer, with outstanding operational capabilities suitable for a range of missions.” Cutillo adds, “Together with our industrial partners, we’re committed to completing and introducing this essential defence and security enabler for our customer.” Design and integration of critical NH90 components Leonardo is responsible for, or contributes to, the design, production and integration of a wide range of critical NH90 components and systems. These include the rear fuselage, main gear box hydraulic system, upper modes of the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), plant management system, power plant integration, NFH mission system (integrating sonar, radar, electro-optics, tactical link, electronic warfare system, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, mission video recording and weapon systems management, including air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine (ASW) missions. LOAM system and LEOSS-T electro-optical system Leonardo also integrates additional capabilities such as the LOAM system and LEOSS-T electro-optical system Leonardo also integrates additional capabilities such as the Laser Obstacle Avoidance Monitoring (LOAM) system and the LEOSS-T electro-optical system, as well as pintle-mounted gatling-type guns, for specific customers. The largest military helicopter programme in Europe, the NH90 is the optimal choice for modern operations thanks to its fully composite airframe with a large cabin, its excellent power-to-weight ratio and its wide range of role equipment. Quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system It features a quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system for reduced pilot workload and enhanced flight handling characteristics. The NH90 is available in two main variants: one specified for naval operations, the NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) and the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land based operations. As of today, around 430 NH90 helicopters, a mixture of both variants, are in service worldwide. Aircraft on operations have logged over 270,000 flight hours in a wide range of weather and environmental conditions, over land and sea.
Leonardo announced the delivery of the first of two AW169 basic training twin engine helicopters to the Italian Army during an official ceremony held at the 2nd Rgt. AVES ‘Sirio’ based in Lamezia Terme in the presence of representatives from the operator and industry. The second aircraft is expected to be handed over in the next few months. The introduction of the new generation training helicopter (designated UH-169B) allows the Italian Army to prepare its crews for the future operational transition to its all-new advanced multirole Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) programme developed on the AW169 dual-use baseline and aimed at longer term fleet modernisation and rationalisation plan. Efficient supply chain The two AW169 trainers, which will enable the Italian Army to familiarise with the platform’s basic characteristics during the development of the new LUH, are being supplied with a comprehensive “turnkey” logistical support and a pilot/maintenance technician training package. The LUH programme is aimed at progressively replacing ageing models including the A109, AB206, AB205, AB212 and AB412 to meet the evolving operational requirements, and benefits from a more efficient supply chain based on a ‘one single platform’ approach. Emergency response capability The overall AW169 LUH programme is based on an advanced multirole configuration The introduction of the AW169 LUH, specifically developed for the Italian Army leveraging on the AW169M military helicopter baseline, also provides the advantage of unique logistical, operational and technical, certification and training commonalities and synergies across the growing AW169 fleets of Government operators in Italy. This strengthens the possibility to perform effective and safe joint operations with other users of this modern type and represents a quantum leap in homeland security, emergency response capability and overall through-life-cycle cost/effectiveness for decades to come. Advanced multirole configuration The overall AW169 LUH programme is based on an advanced multirole configuration provided with dedicated flight/mission equipment including, among others, skids landing gear and an advanced C4 command, control and communication system to grant full interoperability with the other assets in the NATO environment. Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director Leonardo Helicopters, said: “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate with the Italian Army the delivery of its first AW169 in basic training configuration as an essential enabler ahead of the implementation of the new, broader LUH programme. The LUH will definitely represent the start of a new era in terms of capabilities, technical support, mission flexibility and interoperability in the light weight segment." Excellent handling characteristics "The new programme takes advantage of many decades of a successful partnership and continued exchange of information, intended to fully understand the changing operational needs and how to address them through the possibilities offered by new technologies. We’re committed to supporting the Italian Army to maximise the benefits of these new helicopters.” The AW169M is the military variant of the latest generation AW169 twin-engine helicopter The AW169M is the military variant of the latest generation AW169 twin-engine helicopter, designed to the latest FAR/JAR/EASA requirements as well as those standards of military, homeland security and government users. The platform features outstanding power, agility and manoeuvrability, which provides excellent handling characteristics in a wide range of operating conditions including hot and high. Optimising response time The unique transmission design provides power to hydraulic, electrical and air conditioning systems with the rotors stopped (APU mode) optimising response time and availability. The cabin is the most spacious in its class and features a constant height cross section for rapid reconfiguration and ease of access. Pilots benefit from a latest-generation, open-architecture avionics suite, including a fully digital glass cockpit and unprecedented external visibility, providing advanced tactical and situational awareness. Orders for over 220 AW169 helicopters have been placed by customers worldwide today, including military and law enforcement / public service operators, to carry out a range of missions including utility, surveillance, special operations, maritime patrol, land reconnaissance, training, rescue and firefighting.