The U.S. Navy on Jan. 28 published the final request for proposals to build a replacement for its fleet of TH-57 training helicopters.
Industry hopefuls have until April 2 to submit proposals for the Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) TH-XX. The IFR-certified TH-XX aircraft will replace the legacy TH-57B/C Sea Rangers used by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard for advanced helicopter training for undergraduate pilots.
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) anticipates awarding a single firm-fixed-price contract for a total procurement of 130 commercial aircraft through a base and up to four options, according to the RFP. Contract award is anticipated in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.
As a training system, AHTS includes the TH-XX aircraft and its associated Ground Based Training System (GBTS) to train contact, basic and radio instruments, basic formation, and tactical events including use of night vision devices, low level navigation, external load, search and rescue (SAR), hoist, shipboard operations and tactical formation, according to the RFP.
Proposals likely will come from three companies that are publicly competing for the work: Leonardo with its TH119 single-engine trainer, Airbus Helicopters with its H135 light twin and incumbent TH-57 Sea Ranger manufacturer Bell, which is offering the 407GXi.
The manufacturers were working off a draft RFP published in November. This RFP finalizes the specifications for the aircraft and anticipated delivery schedule for a commercially available, FAA-certified, IFR-capable training aircraft. Plans are to start buying new trainers in fiscal 2020 and have the entire TH-57 fleet divested by 2023. (end of excerpt)
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