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1st TH-73A Training Helicopter Lands at Naval Air Station in Florida

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The U.S. Navy has received its first unit of the Leonardo-built TH-73A Thrasher helicopter through which undergraduate maritime pilots will undergo flight training.

Future aviators from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard will train with the modern avionics-equipped helicopter, which replaces the existing TH-57B/C Sea Ranger, the Navy said Friday.

The Thrasher is developed to deliver better power, speed, payload and endurance than the Sea Ranger, with the enhancements being intended to address capability and capacity challenges and improve preparations for naval pilots. Some of the helicopter's features are fully integrated flight management system, automatic flight control system and digital cockpit displays.

Executives from the Chief of Naval Air Training office, Leonardo Helicopters and Vertex Aerospace welcomed Thrasher at Naval Air Station Whiting Field.

Leonardo produced the aircraft in Philadelphia and Vertex will support maintenance activities.

“Using current cockpit technologies and a new training curriculum, AHTS will improve pilot training and skills and ensure rotary wing and tilt-rotor aviators are produced more efficiently at a higher quality and are ready to meet the fleet’s challenges,” said Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff, CNTRA.

The Navy's TH-73A Helicopter Instructor Training Unit will use the first Thrasher to validate the aircraft's corresponding, modern curriculum.