Leonardo announced that it has significantly grown its market share in the Japanese helicopter market by securing orders for AW169, AW139 and AW189 helicopters in firefighting configuration following highly competitive tenders.
Leonardo and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace, the Japanese distributor for the AW169 and AW139 types, have signed contracts with the Yamaguchi Prefecture Fire Fighting and Disaster Relief Agency for one AW169 and with the Shizuoka Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture Fire Fighting & Disaster Relief Agencies for one AW139 each. The AW139s add to an established fleet of more than 50 units in all market segments and reinforce the presence of this model in the firefighting market. The Yamaguchi Prefecture AW169 is the third AW169 to be sold in Japan, the first for firefighting roles, opening up this market for the most modern helicopter in its weight class. The contract with the Tokyo Fire Department for the AW189 marks the debut of Leonardo’s new generation helicopter in Japan. All aircraft are expected to enter service between spring 2019 and spring 2020 replacing older helicopter types.
The new helicopters will feature standard equipment that includes a bambi bucket, rescue hoist and searchlight as well as customer specific equipment. The Tokyo Fire Department AW189 features 19 seats, dual hoist and extended range auxiliary fuel tank for long range missions to remote islands. The AW139 for the Shizuoka Prefecture Fire Fighting & Disaster Relief Agency will carry out rescue operations in the area of Mount Fuji and will also be equipped with a belly tank and a gyro-stabilized camera system with microwave downlink (Heli-TV). The AW139 for Fukushima Prefecture is also equipped with snow skis while the Yamaguchi Prefecture Fire Fighting & Disaster Relief agency AW169 will benefit from the full glass cockpit with four axis auto-pilot and the Heli-TV system.
These latest contracts confirm the commanding presence of Leonardo’s helicopters in the Japanese public service market, with the AW109 series and AW139s performing SAR, EMS, law enforcement and firefighting missions every day in support of communities across the nation. Nearly 120 Leonardo helicopters are in service in Japan today.