Mitsui Bussan Aerospace signs for two AW169 helicopters further strengthening the type’s market presence in Japan

Paris,  20 June 2023 11:47

One of the two AW169 will be delivered to a local firefighting governmental organization, while the other will meet the requirements of upcoming opportunities 

These latest orders bring the total number of AW169s operating in the country to eight

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. 

Mitsui Bussan Aerospace Co., Ltd. is a trading company that specialises in aerospace, defence, and security systems. The company imports and sells helicopters, aircraft, space, defence and security-related equipment, as well as providing related services. Its products include Leonardo’s helicopters, defense machines, aircraft engines, space business and more. The company was founded in 1982 and is based in Tokyo, Japan.

Designed with the principle of maximum flexibility, the AW169 continues to provide all new mission capabilities and configuration options to operators, also thanks to the recent introductions of performance increase packages, skid and Advanced SAR Mode certifications. The aircraft represents an ideal combination of light helicopter cost with higher category performance, payload, and cabin space, all combined with comprehensive and ever-growing support and training services.

The introduction of the AW169 4.8 tonne has further strengthened the competitiveness and market position of Leonardo in the world helicopter market. It has expanded Leonardo’s presence in the emergency medical service market and added more operators for law enforcement, disaster relief, and fire-fighting duties. It further reinforces the company’s leadership in the multi-engine VIP market providing operators with one more option fitting between the popular AW109 series and the bestselling AW139 models. It also adds one more solution for shorter range operations supporting the energy sector and allows Leonardo to play a growing role in the new wind farm support field. Moreover, its dual-use design has responded to a range of government, homeland security and defence requirements for missions like surveillance, troop transport, combat operations, disaster relief and emergency response, fire-fighting, training, mountain rescue and medevac.