Helicopters Magazine

Features Aircraft manufacturers Military
US exercises Lot III option for 36 more Leonardo TH-73A helicopters

December 22, 2021  By Helicopters Staff

The Leonardo TH-73A was nicknamed “Thrasher” by the U.S. Navy, which began training with the helicopters in September 2022. (Photo: Leonardo) (Photo: Leonardo)

The US Department of Defense awarded Leonardo, through AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp., a US$159.4 million firm-fixed price modification to the previously awarded contract for the US Navy’s Advanced Helicopter Training System. This modification exercises options for the production and delivery of 36 TH-73A helicopters Lot III and initial spares.

In January 2020, Leonardo was awarded a firm-fixed-price contract valued at US$176 million for the production and delivery of an initial 32 TH-73A helicopters, along with spares, support, dedicated equipment, and specific pilot and maintenance training services.

In November 2020, the second lot of aircraft were ordered through a US$171 million contract modification, representing an additional 36 ordered. The lot III option now brings the total number of aircraft on order to 104, with delivery continuing up to 2024. Delivery of the first TH-73A to the U.S. Navy took place in June 2021. The contract ultimately lists a total requirement for 130 aircraft.

The TH-73A, which is only made at Leonardo’s FAA-certified Part 21 Production Line in Philadelphia, PA, will be used to train the next generation of student aviators from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.


The Leonardo plant in Philadelphia has been active since the first half of the 1980s. It operates as a supplier and partner to the US Department of Defense through the TH-73A program for the US Navy, of which Leonardo is prime contractor. In addition to the Boeing MH-139A program for the US Air Force.

The plant employs 700 of Leonardo’s 7,000 employees active in the US. Other activities, which take place in Philadelphia, include the final assembly of the AW119, AW139 and the AW609 tiltrotor, as well as support and maintenance services. Flight and maintenance training are undertaken at the Training Academy, which was inaugurated this year.

Based on the IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) variant of the commercial model AW119Kx, Leonardo explains the TH-73A, which will replace the TH-57B/C Sea Ranger nearing the end of its operational life, is well suited for initial training flights, but also capable of advanced training. The thousands of future US pilots Navy, Marines and US Coast Guard will be trained at Whitin Field Base in Milton, Florida.

Equipped with a Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine and avionics by Genesys Aerosystems, Leonardo explains the TH-73 can perform every phase of the US Navy’s training program, and progressively transition from basic maneuvers to operational training. The new system will allow the US Navy to upgrade its technologies from analogue to digital, with a view to maintaining it in service until after 2050.


Stories continue below