One year after completing the acquisition of the Swiss Company Kopter Group AG (Kopter), Leonardo welcomes the SH09 single-engine helicopter as a full member of its product range by rebranding it as the AW09.
This step synergizes the two identities of Leonardo and Kopter. The AW09 perfectly complements the existing product range of Leonardo, allowing the Company to increase its share in the strategic single-engine market, which is one of the largest and most dynamic segments worldwide. Furthermore, the AW09, brings next generation performance, demonstrates Leonardo’s innovation leadership within industry as the helicopter features the latest safety standards and most advanced technologies and this will pave the path for further advancements in vertical flight.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said: “The product with the people and their skills were all important reasons for the acquisition of Kopter. As we make the Kopter team part of our family through the ongoing integration, we now have the latest addition to our product range fully identified with Leonardo, while preserving its invaluable distinguished features. With the AW09, we’re more than ever fully committed to pursuing a revolution in the single-engine market and setting an all-new standard.”
The AW09 will continue to be developed by Kopter in Switzerland. The programme progresses further with the contribution of joint Leonardo-Kopter teams. The third prototype (P3) has now logged in excess of 40 flight hours in Switzerland since mid-January in its new configuration. This includes enhancements in the main rotor head, gearbox, an extended rotor mast and a new design of the flight controls, combined with the modern Garmin G3000H cockpit. All of this brings even better flight characteristics, performance and ease of maintenance. The AW09 next prototype, PS4, is expected to fly this year, followed by the PS5.
Kopter is set to become a Centre of Competence for new light helicopters and an incubator of new technologies for vertical flight. As such, it will contribute to the development of new hybrid and electrical propulsion systems and will play an important role in the framework of Leonardo’s Be Tomorrow 2030 strategic plan, which aims to be in the leading position on the civil rotorcraft market and modern air mobility.
The single-engine, turbine-powered AW09 offers increased modularity, modern electronic systems, high digitalization and the largest cabin and cargo hold in its category. Outstanding characteristics – including fast cruise speeds and excellent hot-and-high capabilities – are combined with a low noise signature resulting from the newly-developed dynamic assembly and shrouded tail-rotor.
Leonardo had signed a contract with Lynwood (Schweiz) AG to acquire 100% of the Swiss helicopter company Kopter Group AG (Kopter) in January 2020. With this decision, Leonardo will be able to strengthen its international leadership in the helicopter sector, benefiting from innovation and of the new engineering skills developed by a young and dynamic company. The new AW09 single-engine helicopter currently under development will fit perfectly into Leonardo’s product range.
Based primarily in Switzerland, Kopter has been operational since 2009. Originally named Marenco Swiss Helicopter, Kopter got its current name in 2018. The program for the new SH09 single-engine helicopter was launched in order to bring new capabilities and a modern design to the civilian market with an extremely versatile and competitive product. The AW09 combines the most modern features in terms of technology and safety, offering excellent performance at competitive costs for various type of missions.