The Italian Army (Esercito Italiano) has placed an order with Leonardo for 15 AW169M light utility helicopters (LUH). According to the procurement document, the deal with Leonardo is valued at USD301 million, comprises delivery of the helicopters in a ‘commercial basic trainer’ configuration, as well as the start of development of a new ‘advanced multirole’ configuration for the Italian Army. This is the second successful sale of the military variant. The AW169M light utility helicopters was to be bought to replace the army’s Bell AB 205, AB 212, and AB 412 LUHs, and to augment its Boeing CH-47F Chinook, NHIndustries NH90, AgustaWestland A129 (and later A249) helicopters.
The AW169M is the military variant of the latest generation AW169 4.8t twin-engine helicopter, developed and manufactured by the helicopter division of Leonardo (formerly AgustaWestland, merged into Finmeccanica since 2016). It was designed to utilise a high degree of commonality with the larger AW139 and AW189. The AW169M can successfully perform a wide variety of roles including Troop Transport, Logistics Support, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Special Forces Operations, Command and Control, Medical Evacuation and Casualty Evacuation, Search and Rescue and Personnel Recovery.
Latest generation modular open systems architecture enables integration of wide range of mission equipment including military communications, radar, Electro-Optic/Infra-Red (EO/IR) device, searchlight, loudspeakers, rescue hoist and cargo hook and crew served weapons. The unobstructed cabin interior enables rapid configuration changes to suit operational requirements.The spacious cabin with flat floor can carry up to 10 troops quickly to their drop-off point or can be converted to recovery up to 2 stretchers in flight. Large sliding doors (1.60 m/5 ft 3 in) enable rapid entry/egress, use of hoist and rappelling/fast roping equipment
The AW169M Light Utility Helicopter can be customised with a large range of equipment, sensor and weapon systems to provide outstanding mission flexibility to military operators. Optional ballistic protection for cockpit and cabin, self-sealing tanks and defensive aids suite ensure high levels of survivability and crashworthiness. Internal Weapons include 12.7 mm machine gun or two pintle-mounted 7.62 mm machine guns. External Weapons include 7.62mm/12.7 mm machine guns and/or guided and unguided rockets and/or air to ground missiles.