Leonardo announced that the Company will build a comprehensive customer support center adjacent to Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Northwest Florida’s Santa Rosa County if selected for the United States Navy’s Advanced Helicopter Training System TH-73. Leonardo is offering the Navy its purpose built, American made TH-119 IFR single engine helicopter to replace the Navy’s aging fleet of TH-57 training helicopters. The Navy is expected to make its selection for the 130 helicopter tender by the end of 2019.
Leonardo’s planned support center will create at least 40-50 jobs adding to Northwest Florida’s robust aviation industry. Expanding customer support to enhance quality and proximity is a key part of Leonardo’s Industrial Plan.
“Leonardo continuously makes investments that bring the Company closer to its customers. We hope to soon invest in Santa Rosa County,” said William Hunt, Leonardo Helicopters Philadelphia. “The TH-119 helicopter is the ideal training platform for the Navy. With this announcement, exceptional aircraft performance and superior maintenance go hand-in-hand.”
If selected by the Navy, and in partnership with the Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office and Space Florida, Leonardo will construct an approximately 100,000 sq. ft. facility in Whiting Aviation Park, a 269-acre planned development adjacent to Naval Air Station Whiting Field, where all helicopter pilots for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are trained. Planned as a Part 145 Repair Station, the facility will provide 24/7 service including spare parts, warranty processing and renewal, technical and product engineering and component and airframe repair. Through a limited-access use agreement between Santa Rosa County and the US Navy, tenants of Whiting Aviation Park will be able to use the Navy’s airfield facilities for efficient aircraft transfers which will reduce service time.
“Santa Rosa County is honored to be working with Leonardo to continue to support the military mission at Whiting Field, bring quality jobs in aviation to Santa Rosa County, and fulfil years of planning to make Whiting Aviation Park a reality,” said Commissioner Don Salter.
“Space Florida congratulates Leonardo on its selection of Santa Rosa County for its support center near Naval Air Station’s Whiting Field,” said Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello. “Utilizing Space Florida’s toolkit, Leonardo will contribute to an already thriving aerospace and aviation industry in Northwest Florida while also serving the needs of our nation’s military.”
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