Leonardo and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace, the official distributor in Japan for the AW169 and AW139 helicopter models, announced today the signing of a contract with Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for one AW169 light intermediate helicopter. The aircraft, replacing an older model, will be used to perform electronic newsgathering (ENG) operations, with entry into service expected in 2021 following local mission equipment installation and customization. The aircraft will feature an ultra-HD gyrostabilized camera, microwave downlink for live broadcasting and a comprehensive TV mission console.
The order marks the fourth AW169 sale in Japan, the second for ENG tasks following contract from Asahi Shimbun newspaper testifying customer’s satisfaction with the type. The AW169 is perfectly suited to perform electronic newsgathering operations thanks to high performance, cabin space, latest safety standards and versatility. Leonardo has experience a growing presence in Japanese ENG market in recent years with the contracts for ten aircraft including seven AW139s (NHK, Kansai TV, Nippon TV, Chukyo TV), two AW169s and one GrandNew (Asahi Shimbun and ABC). Nearly 120 Leonardo helicopters of various models are in service in Japan today performing a range of missions including EMS, SAR, law enforcement, firefighting, disaster relief, VIP/corporate transport, electronic newsgathering, naval operations.