LONDON – The Austrian Ministry of Defence will acquire a further 18 AW169M Light Utility Helicopters in the recent agreement signed with helicopter manufacturer Leonardo.
Leonardo and the Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness of the Italian Secretariat General of Defence/National Armaments Directorate signed the Acquisition Contract for the supply of an additional 18 AW169M Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) to the Austrian Ministry of Defence.
Austrian MoD AW169M acquisitions
This latest contract will bring to 36 the total number of AW169M LUHs for the Austrian Ministry of Defence. The first aircraft was delivered in December 2022 during an official ceremony and in line with the contractual obligations, starting a new era in national defence and emergency response capabilities.
Furthermore, it also represents an important milestone for Leonardo, celebrating the first delivery to the export market of the AW169M variant under a G2G programme.
Austrian crews have already been leveraging initial training supplied at Leonardo’s Training Academy in Sesto Calende (Italy) and will be supported by the Italian Army’s training capabilities as an AW169M LUH operator. Deliveries of all aircraft are expected to be completed by 2028.
The Italy-Austria strategic partnership
The Italy-Austria G2G initiative is aimed at reinforcing the bilateral collaboration between the two countries and establishing a strategic partnership in the rotorcraft sector.
Austria is looking to Italy and the AW169M LUH programme for its modernisation plan and the replacement of its ageing Alouette III aircraft fleet, which have been in service since the 1960s.
About the AW169M
The AW169M is the military variant of the AW169, the future generation helicopter developed by Leonardo and equipped with state-of-the-art on-board technologies.
The platform features outstanding power, agility and manoeuvrability, which provides excellent handling characteristics in a wide range of operating conditions including hot and high.
The unique transmission design provides power to hydraulic, electrical and air conditioning systems with the rotors stopped (APU mode) optimising response time and availability.
The cabin is the most spacious in its class and features a constant height cross section for rapid reconfiguration and ease of access.
Pilots benefit from a latest-generation, open-architecture avionics suite, including a fully-digital glass cockpit and unprecedented external visibility, providing advanced tactical and situational awareness.
In Italy, the adoption of the AW169M has been taken up by operators among armed forces and government law enforcement agencies replacing many ageing helicopter models.
The AW169M LUHs will be able to carry out a wide range of missions supporting Austrian defence requirements and the national community, such as troop transport, combat operations, disaster relief and emergency response, fire-fighting, mountain rescue and MEDEVAC.
The global AW169 fleet, with more than 150 units delivered to operators in nearly 30 countries, has logged in excess of 135,000 flight hours in all kind of operations and conditions.