The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has released a long-awaited draft Request for Proposals (RFP) associated with the acquisition of commercial aircraft (and support) to replace its fleet of approximately 115 Bell TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopters.

As described in the Draft Performance Statement of Work, the Advanced Helicopter Training Systems (AHTS) TH-XX Aircraft” program consists of:

  1. The helicopter, identified as the TH-XX aircraft;
  2. Contractor Logistics Support (CLS), maintenance, and logistics; and
  3. Ground Based Training System (GBTS), including Flight Training Devices (FTD), CAI, ICW, and classroom instruction.”

The Draft Performance Statement of Work say that: “Helicopter and tilt-rotor pilots now make up more than 50% of all Naval Aviators” and that “current and expected Pilot Training Requirements forecast an annual requirement of more than 600 rotary wing and tilt-rotor pilots, which is estimated to continue to increase through at least 2040.”

It adds that: “AHTS is a system of systems approach to mitigate capability and capacity gaps in the current helicopter training components.  The AHTS concept will meet advanced rotary wing and intermediate tilt-rotor training requirements for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard through the year 2050.”

NAVAIR requests that industry submit comments on its plans for the new “Advanced Helicopter Training Systems (AHTS) TH-XX Aircraft” program — including its Draft Performance Statement of Work and associated Attachments and specifications — by 16 November 2018.

Among industry offerings considered to be in contention for TH-XX are the Airbus H135, the Bell 407 GXi, and the Leonardo TH-119.