Deliveries at Leonardo Helicopters rose during the first nine months of 2018 as "strong commercial momentum" in the segment helped the division's year-on-year performance.

The Italian aerospace group delivered 113 helicopters in the three quarters ended 30 September, versus 99 units during the same period a year earlier.

Chief executive Alessandro Profumo said during a results briefing on 8 November that the full-year delivery volume will be "significantly higher" than 2017's output of 149 rotorcraft. In July, he forecast "at least" 175 helicopter deliveries throughout 2018.

Finance chief Alessandra Genco says she is "particularly pleased" with the helicopter division's performance, which more than offset lower order intakes in Leonardo’s aeronautics and defence, electronics and security divisions.

Group nine-month order intake grew 18%, to €9.39 billion ($10.7 billion), with the increase mainly attributed to the finalisation in August of a deal with Qatar for 28 NH Industries NH90 military helicopters.

Leonardo has a workshare "above 40%" in the €3 billion contract, the highest figure yet in any order for NH90s. Airbus Helicopters and Fokker are the other shareholders in the NHI consortium.

Deliveries of 12 NH90 NFH naval helicopters and 16 TTH troop transports to Qatar are scheduled to run from 2022 to 2025.

A contract to supply to the US Air Force with up to 84 MH-139 intermediate-twin helicopters – which Leonardo won in partnership with Boeing in September – was another "incredibly important" deal, says Profumo.

Additionally, Genco sees "positive signs" for helicopter demand in the energy sector.

Leonardo's group revenue grew 2.4%, to €8.24 billion, between January and September.

Earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation declined to €632 million from €694 million during the same period in 2017.

The manufacturer says the fall was mainly attributable to ATR – in which Leonardo is a partner with Airbus – as a result of currency effects, fewer aircraft deliveries and lower-margin sales than last year.