Leonardo adds firefighting helicopters to Japan

Leonardo has grown its market share in the Japanese helicopter market by securing orders for AW169, AW139 and AW189 helicopters in firefighting configuration.

Leonardo and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace, the Japanese distributor for the AW169 and AW139 types, signed contracts with the Yamaguchi Prefecture Fire Fighting and Disaster Relief Agency for one AW169. This is the third AW169 to be sold in Japan and the first for firefighting.

Both companies also signed deals with the Shizuoka and Fukushima Prefecture Fire Fighting and Disaster Relief Agencies for one AW139 each. The two AW139s will add to a fleet of more than 50 other units in all market segments and reinforce the presence of this model in the firefighting market.

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 firefighting equipment including a bambi bucket, rescue hoist and searchlight as well as customer specific equipment.

The AW139 for the Shizuoka Prefecture Fire Fighting & Disaster Relief Agency will carry out rescue operations around 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 features a full glass cockpit with four axis autopilot and the Heli-TV system.

The Tokyo Fire Department AW189 features 19 seats, dual hoist and extended range auxiliary fuel tank for long range missions to remote islands.

Terry Spruce

Terry is Senior News Editor and writes for both Corporate Jet Investor and Helicopter Investor. He is also responsible for our helicopter guides. Terry has been an aviation enthusiast since the early 1970s. He is a lapsed Private Pilot and ex-Piper Cherokee owner. He has flown a number of light aircraft and is comfortable sitting in the co-pilot's seat or the back of any aircraft. Before moving to journalism he was a banker for 20 years. You can contact him at: terry@corporatejetinvestor.com or follow him on twitter @Terry_Spruce

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