AW169 Demo Tour in Japan

An EMS-configured AW169 is about to begin a month-long demo tour across Japan, confirming Leonardo’s commitment to partnerships with local players. Its rich heritage in the country, dating back to the mid-1980s, has witnessed Leonardo’s helicopter fleet grow rapidly in recent years, with around 160 rotorcraft now in service. Ca. 80% of these helicopters are deployed for life-saving missions in roles such as search and rescue (SAR), law enforcement, firefighting and disaster relief as well as primary and secondary EMS missions. 

The featured AW169 is operated by Alidaunia, a prominent Italian EMS operator, and a certified Leonardo Service Center with a broad international experience in air transport and  maintenance services. Its fleet includes the AW109, AW139 and AW169.

Leonardo will be supported by Alidaunia’s flight crew, composed of a pilot, technical personnel, and a hoist operator, in conducting this tour and illustrating the rotorcraft’s advantages from an operator’s perspective.


In early October, the AW169 arrived at Yao (Osaka prefecture), one of the bases of Aero Asahi Corp., a major Japanese aviation company that will provide Leonardo with support services throughout the demo tour. At Yao, the aircraft has been ground- and flight-tested in preparation for this journey.

The AW169’s tour will take place throughout November, stretching from the northernmost Hokkaido Island and returning to the south of the country. During its numerous stops, the helicopter will be presented to EMS operators, search and rescue organizations, law enforcement agencies, and firefighting aviation units. 

3 November

In early November, the AW169 started its tour from Yao and headed towards the north of Japan, making seven stops along the way: Toyama, Niigata, Akita, Aomori, Shikabe, Okadama and Kushiro. At its last destination, the helicopter was exhibited at the 30th edition of the Japanese Society for Aeromedical Services (JSAS) Annual Congress.

At the JSAS Annual Congress, the national emergency medical and critical care industry conference, the AW169 was displayed in the Congress Centre’s external area, allowing participants to see the helicopter up close. 

During the event, Leonardo’s delegation had the opportunity to speak with medical subject matter experts, including Dr. Takeyama Yoshihiro, MD, (Director of Hakodate Municipal Hospital’s Emergency and Critical Care Center in Hakodate, Hokkaido), and Dr. Simone Bazurro, MD (PHD Physician specialist in Anaesthetics, Resuscitation and Intensive Care, ASL 2 Savonese, Hems 118 Liguria Soccorso), who explained how the AW169 fully meets medical emergency requirements.

In Japan, the EMS operators require to store on board of the helicopter an ever-increasing amount of specialty medical equipment and need to have full access to the patient. The rescue missions operators often carry out multiple duties, from EMS/SAR and disaster relief to firefighting, surveillance and passenger transport, having to reach remote locations, such as small islands or mountain sites.

The AW169, fully meets all these aforementioned requirements, due to its high reconfigurability on a mission-by-mission basis and compact footprint. Moreover, benefitting from the latest available technologies, it ensures the highest safety level for rescue operations.