Tokyo Metropolitan Government evaluates Leonardo AW609 tiltrotor

Line of Defence Magazine - Update

Leonardo AW609 tiltrotor
Leonardo AW609 tiltrotor a potential game-changer in Japan.

World’s first commercial tiltrotor under evaluation in Japan will enable complete reach to remote areas with its’ unique combination of high speed, long range, and vertical lift capability.

  • The AW609 would join a fleet of over 130 helicopters serving for civil, public service and military duties with solid on-site customer support services network
  • First two production AW609 are under final assembly and a comprehensive training system including a full flight simulator is expected to be ready this year

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government recently announced the intention to evaluate the AW609 multirole commercial tiltrotor’s capabilities to deliver new levels of transport to Ogasawara island in the future.

The world’s first commercial tiltrotor, combining turboprop-like performance (speed, range, altitude) and rotorcraft versatility (vertical take -off / landing and hovering), would be expected to deliver services to Ogasawara, approximately 1,000 km from Tokyo. Missions would be performed in all weather conditions and with limited infrastructural impact thanks to its helicopter-like footprint.

The AW609 excels at providing fast point to point transportation at long range, whether it is connecting cities or providing access to remote locations. With a speed of 275 knots, 25,000 ft altitude and 1,000 nm maximum range, users are set to benefit from the AW609’s unique ability to fly above adverse weather in the comfort of a pressurised cabin while maintaining rotorcraft vertical take-off and landing / hovering versatility.

The AW609 is suited to meet a range of operational requirements in Japan, such as passenger transport, EMS, SAR, surveillance, electronic newsgathering and VVIP transport. With over 130 models of helicopters in Japan today performing a wide variety of civil, public service and military missions, Leonardo has a long-standing in-country presence with a comprehensive support service network.

The AW609 would support Japan in the introduction of innovative technological solutions to meet connection requirements across the nation, both in normal times and in emergency and extreme natural event conditions. Its ‘green’ technology reduces emissions and noise.

The AW609 will be the first civil certified tiltrotor aircraft, and is poised to transform private and business travel, emergency medical service (EMS), search and rescue (SAR), offshore operations and patrol, among other uses. The AW609 carries up to nine passengers, flying safely above inclement weather and in icing conditions.

The first two production AW609s are currently being assembled in Philadelphia. The AW609 has attracted great interest from around the world. An advanced Flight Training Device and the world’s first AW609 Full Flight Simulator will be available later this year.

Comment below to have your say on this article.

If you have a news story or would like to pitch an article, get in touch at

Sign up to DEFSEC e-Newsletters.