Leonardo AW159 global fleet accrues over 100,000 flight hours

Leonardo AW159 global fleet accrues over 100,000 flight hours

14-Jun-2024 Source: Leonardo

The multi-mission AW159 helicopter fleet has passed more than 100,000 flight hours. This impressive achievement has been secured via the 72 AW159 helicopters currently in-service, operated by five operators, including the UK, Republic of South Korea (RoK) and the Philippines.

Furthermore, the British Army and the Royal Navy operate 34 and 28 aircraft respectively. The RoK Navy has eight AW159 helicopters and the Philippine Navy has two AW159 helicopters within its fleet. Additionally, there are several further potential operators around the globe, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

The AW159, designated Wildcat by the UK MOD, is an operationally capable and cost-effective multi-mission platform, with the UK as its significant reference customer. The AW159 conducts missions ranging from peacetime Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief, through to constabulary and high-end warfighting operations. It has the capability to autonomously Find, Fix and Strike adversaries in both the surface and sub-surface domains.

The platform is designed to operate safely from single spot aviation capable vessels in the harshest environments, adverse weather and high sea states, providing multi-mission operational readiness to the Maritime Commander. The AW159 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter is designed to operate from deployed land locations with minimal maintenance burden, proving availability and force projection to the Land Commander.

Development of AW159 multi-mission capability continues. Leonardo successfully teamed an AW159 with a semi-autonomous UAV during the British Army Warfighting Experiment 19, to demonstrate the AW159 Crewed Uncrewed Teaming (CUC-T) capability. The AW159 teamed with a UAV from Callen-Lenz Associates, the helicopter crew controlling the UAV as part of the aircraft sensor suite, providing a fully integrated solution without reliance on additional crew. The AW159 crew was able to directly control both the UAV flightpath and electro-optical sensor payload through the AW159 cockpit Human Machine Interface (HMI). The Teaming classed as Level of Interoperability 4 under NATO standard STANAG 4586.

Integrating the UAV into the AW159 mission system reduced crew workload, enabling them to focus on the mission while still controlling the UAV. It marked the first time that such an integrated capability was demonstrated on a UK military aircraft.

The AW159 represents the most recent capability offered by Leonardo in the maritime and land domains. With a fully integrated avionics and mission suite, coordinated through a tactical processor and utilising a military-derived HMI, the AW159 delivers exceptional situational awareness and tactical advantage to the crew. Moreover, the network-enabled helicopter is configured with advanced communications, tactical data links, navigation systems and sensors, and comprehensive suite of Surface and Sub-Surface weapons, making the AW159 a true Force Multiplier.

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