Mitsui Bussan Aerospace (MBA), the authorised distributor for the Leonardo AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopter models in Japan, announced with Leonardo new orders for two AW169 light intermediate twin helicopters at the 54th International Paris Air Show. One aircraft will be delivered to a local firefighting governmental organization, while the other has been secured for upcoming opportunities in the country. These latest contracts confirm the growing success of the AW169 in Japan, bringing the total number of units operating in the country to eight.
The firefighting AW169 is the second AW169 in Japan for firefighting roles and disaster relief missions, confirming this market segment’s appreciation for the most modern helicopter in its weight class. The aircraft is expected to be delivered in mid-2024 to Japan where it will undergo local customization and final hand over to the customer in 2025. Its versatile and multirole configuration includes a range of dedicated equipment such as the Leonardo’s obstacle proximity LIDAR system – OLPS, Forward Looking Infrared – FLIR, search light, weather radar, rescue hoist, Bumbi Bucket for firefighting among others.
The AW169s currently in-service in Japan with various operators perform a range of operations including rescue, disaster relief, firefighting and Electronic News Gathering (ENG). Around 160 helicopters of various types, including the AW169, are in service in Japan, used for a wide range of missions, from emergency medical service, search and rescue, fire-fighting and disaster relief, to VIP/corporate transport, electronic news gathering, law enforcement and maritime utility.