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Leonardo expects few order swaps to AW189K helicopter

Leonardo Helicopters does not envisage large numbers of customers swapping their outstanding orders for the AW189 to the K-model variant it launched this morning in London.

The new version features twin Safran Helicopter Engines Aneto turboshafts in place of the baseline GE Aviation CT7 powerplants.

"We see plenty of room in the market for both," says Roberto Garavaglia, senior vice-president of strategy and business development at the Anglo-Italian airframer.

"The main message is that [the Aneto] does not replace the CT7, but completes the value proposition. It was important for us to enlarge the footprint of the aircraft.

Although the marketing effort for the new variant has only just begun, Garavaglia says he does believe there will be many conversions "unless customers require the helicopter for some specific missions" or require better hot and high performance. The company has also yet to take any orders for the new model.

The Aneto engines offer more power – nearly 2,500shp (1,860kW) each against 1,980shp for the CT7 – but at the cost of slightly higher fuel consumption.

"The GE engine will still be the reference on fuel," says Garavaglia.

In addition, there will be no list price differential between the two variants, he says.

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