Leonardo seeks to repeat success of AW139 with AW09; announces Metro partnership

Avatar for Oliver JohnsonBy Oliver Johnson | March 7, 2023

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 18 seconds.

Leonardo is targeting an order book of over 200 of its upcoming light single AW09 by the time the aircraft is certified, with the hope that it will repeat the success of its AW139 program once the type arrives on the market.

The production aircraft will feature the 1,000 shp class of power Arriel 2K engine, the newest generation of the Arriel family. Leonardo Photo

The manufacturer currently has close to 50 orders for the aircraft, which it acquired from startup manufacturer Kopter in January 2020. It plans to boost that order book to 60 aircraft by this summer, and reach 100 orders by the end of this year.

“[The AW09] is going to establish a new standard, a new of level of safety in the single engine world,” Emilio Dalmasso, senior vice president of new products business development, told attendees at HAI Heli-Expo 2023 in Atlanta, Georiga. “We are sure we can repeat the success of the [AW]139 in the single-engine market. We’re selling the product in all the geographies, in all the applications.”

Leonardo recently unveiled PS4 — the fourth prototype of the aircraft — featuring new blades and a new choice of engine, with the Safran Arriel 2K replacing the Honeywell HTS900 as the type’s powerplant. The aircraft will be followed into testing later this year by PS5.

“The work that has been carried out since the acquisition, and especially in the last 12 months, led us to close the aircraft configuration,” Gian Piero Cutillo, managing director of Leonardo’s helicopter division, told reporters at a briefing during HAI Heli-Expo 2023. “I think in terms of timing, this year, 2023 will be the consolidation year and I think we will get the certification soon.”

He said the switch to the Arriel 2K engine was “important to really reach the level of quality and the performance” the company expected from the AW09.

“We believe that this is the proper propulsion engine for this helicopter, not only for the engine itself, but also for the support [Safran provides].”

At Heli-Expo, the company also announced an agreement with Shreveport, Louisiana’s Metro Aviation that will see the latter support the introduction and positioning of the AW09 in the U.S. Metro will also apply its expertise in developing aircraft interiors and supplemental type certificates, and providing service and training for the type.

“We’ve been working on the AW09 since 2017, and we are extremely excited to help Leonardo bring this fantastic aircraft to market,” Mike Stanberry, president and CEO of Metro Aviation, said during an even marking the announcement at Heli-Expo.

Stanberry said Metro has already designed “a number of interiors” for the AW09 for use in the air medical, law enforcement and aerial tourism sectors. He added that AW09 completions would be performed by Metro in its facility in Shreveport and at Leonardo’s U.S. headquarters in Pennsylvania.

“We are excited about what’s happening at Leonardo with the 09, and we will be there every step of the way,” he said.

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