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Leonardo and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace, the official distributor in Japan for the AW169 and AW139 helicopter models, announced on Feb. 6 the signing of a contract with Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for one AW169 light intermediate helicopter.
The aircraft, replacing an older model, will be used to perform electronic newsgathering (ENG) operations, with entry into service expected in 2021 following local mission equipment installation and customization. The aircraft will feature an ultra-HD gyrostabilized camera, microwave downlink for live broadcasting and a comprehensive TV mission console.
The order marks the fourth AW169 sale in Japan, the second for ENG tasks following contract from Asahi Shimbun newspaper testifying customer’s satisfaction with the type. The AW169 is perfectly suited to perform electronic newsgathering operations thanks to high performance, cabin space, latest safety standards and versatility.
Leonardo has experienced a growing presence in the Japanese ENG market in recent years with the contracts for 10 aircraft including seven AW139s (NHK, Kansai TV, Nippon TV, Chukyo TV), two AW169s and one GrandNew (Asahi Shimbun and ABC).
Nearly 120 Leonardo helicopters of various models are in service in Japan today, performing a range of missions including EMS, SAR, law enforcement, firefighting, disaster relief, VIP/corporate transport, electronic newsgathering and naval operations.
A versatile, new-generation, twin-engine light intermediate category helicopter, the 4.6/4.8 tonne AW169 has been designed in response to the growing market demand for an aircraft that delivers high performance, meets all the latest safety standards and has multi-role capabilities.
Orders for more than 170 AW169 helicopters have been signed by over 70 customers in nearly 30 countries around the world to date for a wide range of applications including air ambulance, law enforcement, executive/corporate transport and electronic newsgathering. Almost 50 units have already been delivered globally.