US Navy issues RFP for TH-XX helicopter trainer

The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on January 28 issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the procurement of new TH-XX helicopter training aircraft.

The new TH-XX aircraft will replace the TH-57B/C aircraft currently used by the US Navy for advanced helicopter training for undergraduate pilots.

NAVAIR said it intends to award a single firm fixed price contract for the acquisition of a total of 130 commercial aircraft through a base and up to four options.

The deadline for responses to the RFP is April 2, 2019, while a contract award is anticipated in the 1st quarter of fiscal year 2020.

European helicopter manufacturers Airbus and Leonardo, and the US-based Bell are the three currently known contenders for the helicopter trainer replacement program.

Leonardo is proposing the TH-119 IFR training helicopter which completed its maiden flight in December last year. The single-engine helicopter has a dual-display Genesys Aerosystems glass cockpit which allows instruction from either pilot seat with full IFR capabilities including flight director and 3-axis full autopilot.

Bell Helicopter, who delivered the TH-57B and 57C aircraft to the navy in 1981 and 1982, is offering the 407GXi as replacement. The 407GXi features a Garmin G1000H NXi avionics system and a new Fadec-controlled Rolls-Royce engine.

The H135 helicopter offered by Airbus is fitted with a Glass Cockpit, a crash-resistant fuel system, energy absorbing seats, fuselage and landing gear. The company says the H135 is currently providing pilot training for military pilots in over 13 countries around the world.

Photo: US Navy photo of a TH-57 training helicopter making a landing aboard the Navy Helicopter Landing Trainer (HLT) IX-514 in 2006