A family of... helicopters

A family of... helicopters

Although the concept of aircraft "Families" is a well-established principle in the fixed-wing sector, it is new to the helicopter industry. Leonardo was the first to introduce a Family of products sharing the latest technology as well as a range of features for the benefit of our customers.


The AW139, AW169 and AW189 are the three helicopters that make up the Family. Each has its own individual features and is leader in its weight class, while being closely connected to the other two. The three models share the same DNA and design philosophy: maximising interior space whilst maintaining an extremely compact design for the exterior, a high power/weight ratio, and similar and integrated avionics.


The AW139 in flight


Optimised to carry out different types of missions varying according to weight class, the Family’s helicopters are designed with common features, thereby reducing costs and facilitating our customers’ daily operations . These helicopters share similarities in the cockpit, safety standards, system architecture, modularity, system solutions, operational configuration, design, components, equipment maintenance and machine management logic.


AW169's manteninance



An additional advantage comes in terms of common maintenance and training for all the Family’s helicopters; this allows those who use more than one model to improve operational flexibility and minimise operating costs, thanks to similar operating procedures and approaches.


The shared ground handling and maintenance equipment set also guarantees fleet management optimisation. From a training perspective, it is possible to reduce the time required to obtain the Type Rating license for a helicopter within the Family.


The AW169 in flight




The AW139, AW169 and AW189 share a Common Cockpit Concept, whereby information is presented in a similar way; the same symbols and alerts are used, following a standardised approach that allows pilots to use familiar practices and processes when operating  one model or the other, which also simplifies learning during the qualification process at Leonardo Helicopters’ Training Academies.


The cockpit of the AW139




We have developed modular elements that are interchangeable between the various models (such as seats and stretchers), dedicated to different missions and configurations, as well as common entertainment systems for the VIP application. For advanced roles (search and rescue and public order missions), operators deal with common equipment and mission system management (on-board computer, monitoring and radio communication systems and electromechanical equipment, just to name a few).


The AW189




As pertains to customer support, many spare parts needed for commissioning as well as a lot of ground support and maintenance equipment can be used interchangeably by the Family’s three models. The maintenance programmes were designed according to shared concepts in order to facilitate customers who operate more than one model. This is all part of Leonardo Helicopters' philosophy; working together with our customers and putting them at the centre of our daily actions.

To date, six of our customers have ordered all three models of the Family and eleven have ordered two.

The advantages of a modular approach:

  • Fewer training hours for pilots and technicians
  • Optimised design for technical system solutions and performance, reducing time to market and simplifying/accelerating the solution's certification/commissioning process
  • More flexibility in planning the operating procedures of flight operations and fleet management
  • Optimised processes and procedures for both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance
  • Reduction of stock of spare parts and maintenance equipment
  • Similar operational procedures resulting in improved safety
  • Lower fleet acquisition and management costs
Leonardo 07/03/2017