Leonardo and the Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness of the Italian Secretariat General of Defence/National Armaments Directorate signed Wednesday the Acquisition Contract for the supply of an additional 18 AW169M Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) to the Austrian Ministry of Defence.
The contract, valued at 304 million EUR, was signed following the Italy-Austria Government-to-Government (G2G) Agreement amendment signed in December 2022, through which Austria is exercising options for these additional units, providing further evidence of its confidence in the selected platform.
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 G2G initiative is aimed at reinforcing the bilateral collaboration between the two countries and establishing a strategic partnership in the rotorcraft sector, with Austria looking at 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.
The AW169M LUH, with its superior performance and unmatched latest generation capabilities, as well as the complete support and training services to perform true multirole operations, is the most technologically advanced and cost-effective solution to meet the rigorous needs of the operator. 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 AW169M represents the military variant of the AW169, the future generation helicopter developed by Leonardo and equipped with state-of-the-art on-board technologies, designed to the latest FAR/JAR/EASA requirements as well as those standards of military, homeland security and government users. 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.
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. Customers worldwide have placed orders and options for over 320 AW169 helicopters to date, including military and law enforcement/public service operators, to carry out a range of missions including utility, surveillance, special operations, maritime patrol, land reconnaissance, training, rescue and fire-fighting.
In Italy, the adoption of the AW169M by operators among armed forces and government law enforcement agencies replacing many ageing models provides the advantage of unique logistical, operational and technical, certification and training commonalities and synergies across the growing AW169 fleets. This strengthens the possibility to perform effective and safe joint operations with other users of this modern type and represents a quantum leap in homeland security, emergency response capability and overall through-lifecycle costs/effectiveness for decades to come.
Leonardo, a global high-technology company, is among the top world players in Aerospace, Defense and Security and Italy’s main industrial company. Organized into five business divisions, Leonardo has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland and the USA, where it also operates through subsidiaries that include Leonardo DRS (defense electronics), and joint ventures and partnerships: ATR, MBDA, Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space and Avio.
Leonardo competes in the most important international markets by leveraging its areas of technological and product leadership (Helicopters, Aircraft, Aerostructures, Electronics, Cyber & Security Solutions and Space). In 2021, Leonardo recorded consolidated revenues of €14.1 billion and invested €1.8 billion in Research and Development.