Leonardo boosts capabilities of AW169 skid-equipped variant

A Leonardo AW169 in flight.
Photo Credit: Leonardo

With Skidded capabilities, the Leonardo AW169 will now offer a lifting capability of 5,100 kg Increased Gross Weight (IGW) and an 11-seater configuration.

The AW169 light intermediate twin-engine helicopter has the operational capability to perform any missions demanded by its customers. 

With the new skidded options installed, the AW169 will now have increased gross weight of a 5,100 kg (11,243 lb) IGW kit and an 11-seater configuration. This is fully certified and compliant with the IOGP (International Association of Oil & Gas Producers) Report 690.

The Skid Configuration

The skid variant comes with the  5,100 kg (11,243 lb) kit configuration. This is ideal for meeting the needs of government and defense requirements, especially for missions like combat operations, high-stakes environment flights, and troop transportation. 

The civil and public service markets would also be served perfectly with the skid configuration, which benefits from performance boosts. The new ‘upgrade’ is critical as this does not require modifications in the design of critical components.


This will only give extra performances, which will deliver greater engine and transmission power, along with better aerodynamical performances in all flying conditions. 

Standard AW169

The standard version comes with a Maximum Take-off Weight of 4,800 kg (10582 lb). With the skid configuration, this would free up an extra 300 kg (661 lb) with the capacity to carry three more passengers or the additional fuel tank capacity for an extra hour of operations. 

The good news is that current AW169 owners can opt for the retrofit to enhance the aircraft’s capabilities. 

The 11-seater configuration 

As an extra option with the skids configuration added, the 11-seater variant is  IOGP compliant. 

This will come with the newly introduced modular fuel tank system and two additional Type IV emergency exits in the cabin. This will increase the total number from four to six. 

With the 11-seat configuration, will be able to entice more offshore operators as this can carry more personnel, payload, and range. 


With the skid configuration, there will be an improved operational distance of up to 75 nm with 11 passengers. This also offers capabilities with an MTOW exceeding 5.5 tonnes for an intermediate-class helicopter. 

The Skid configuration would also deliver greater sustainability compared to the ‘latter’ configuration. This is due to a more efficient engine, advanced navigation to seek the best possible routing, and a modern support and maintenance approach, among many solutions. 


Needless to say, the certification for the aircraft is expected to be completed in 2024, along with the 11-seater configuration and a modular fuel tank slated for certification in 2026. 

Moreover, the skid undercarriage will be added to the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification, along with the unique FR, single pilot, Advanced Search and Rescue (SAR) Modes, both added in 2022. 

With this configuration, the AW169 is the only modern CS29-certified aircraft that will able to offer all undercarriage modifications. This further exerts the versatility and interoperability of the aircraft.

Bottom Line

The AW169 just got better. This particular Augusta Westland helicopter is the only helicopter in its class that features Advanced SAR Modes.

The performance increases package will already enhance the already capable features of the aircraft. This will also make the type with the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.

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