Leonardo EMS Helicopters overview

11 Oct, 2021

The world fleet for SAR/EMS helicopters counts approximately 2600 units, there are more than 700 Leonardo rescue helicopters operating across all continents combining SAR and EMS tasks, and in particular over 110 Leonardo EMS helicopters in service in North America. Leonardo's EMS and SAR helicopters allow missions to be carried out in all weather or environmental conditions, reducing polluting emissions and intervention times to a minimum, guaranteeing operational availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Cost containment through greater efficiency in maintenance, versatility and ability to rapidly reconfigure mission after mission, complete solutions for crew training are among the additional capabilities deemed essential by the market and provided by the Company. Today a modern helicopter dedicated to rescue is requested in response to major emergencies, transform itself into a real flying hospital and also carry out transport in biocontainment.


With the AW169, AW139 and AW189 models, produced in Vergiate (Italy) (the AW139 also in Philadelphia) and in a weight range between 4.6 and 8.6 tons, Leonardo certified and introduced the first family of the latest generation helicopters in the world, characterized by the sharing of the same design philosophy, certification and safety standards, approach to support services. 


The smaller and lighter type of the AW Family, the AW169, the latest arrival on the market, is the only latest generation model in its class in over 30 years. The helicopter is designed to carry up to 10 passengers or two stretchers and designed to offer the maximum degree of versatility, the AW169 features several innovative solutions such as a fully electric retractable trolley (as an alternative to optional fixed landing gear and skids), a main rotor with variable speed for greater efficiency in the various phases of flight. Performance increase and aerodynamics enhancement will be soon introduced delivering even greater power, more payload and flying characteristics. The large and modular unobstructed cabin allows for full access to patient’s body by the medical attendants with the possibility to install litters both transversally and longitudinally. 

The AW169 incorporates several new technology features in the rotor system, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation and distribution systems. The aircraft is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW210A turboshafts which also have an auxiliary power unit (APU) mode, ensuring the continued operation of the environmental control system, radios and medical equipment when the rotors are stopped. 

The AW169’s avionic suite introduces state-of-the-art technology including a fully digital NVG compatible cockpit with three 8” x 10” large area (AMLCD) displays and touch screen technology with enhanced 3D graphics capability for maximum situational awareness. A 4-axis digital automatic flight control system (DAFCS) with dual Flight Management System (FMS) minimises crew workload, allowing single/dual pilot VFR/IFR operations. The avionics suite also complies with satellite-based navigation, communication and surveillance requirements and has the capability to perform satellite-based IFR LPV (localizer performance with vertical guidance) approaches to maximize round-the-clock utilisation of the helicopter. Safety enhancing avionics such as Terrain Awareness Warning Systems, airborne collision avoidance systems and unique obstacle proximity detection system can be added to the standard avionic configuration.

Certified in 2015, nearly 240 AW169s have been ordered by customers worldwide to date to carry out a range of mission including EMS/SAR, law enforcement, firefighting, electronic news gathering, utility, VIP/corporate transport, training and military missions. For EMS/SAR disaster relief or firefighting tasks, the AW169 was ordered by operators in Italy, United Kingdom, USA, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Sweden, among others.


In the US Market Leonardo Helicopters counts also on others types as AW119 for EMS duties.

The type is the first single engine helicopter in decades to fully meet current IFR requirements without compromise, allowing pilots to operate the aircraft safely in low visibility and challenging weather conditions, thanks to advanced avionics by Genesys Aerosystems and redundant flight systems. The IFR-capable AW119 adds one more option and an ideal IFR entry point for commercial and public service operators who seek for the highest level of safety and performance in demanding conditions while keeping single engine economics. 

Built at Leonardo’s FAA Part 21 production facility in Philadelphia, the AW119 is perfectly suited to perform many roles including EMS, utility, fire-fighting, law enforcement, passenger transport, training and government/military duties. Over 350 AW119 helicopters have been sold to over 130 customers in 40 countries.

Source: Ain Online