The first of 18 helicopters was delivered in line with contractual obligations. The Austrian MoD’s AW169M LUH programme begins a new era in national defence and emergency response capabilities. Options for an additional 18 helicopters have been exercised in the framework of the Italy-Austria G2G initiative aimed at reinforcing the bilateral collaboration between the two countries and establishing a strategic partnership in the rotorcraft sector. The Austrian Ministry of Defence’s AW169M LUH helicopter programme set a major milestone today with the delivery of the first aircraft from an initial order of 18 units, based on the Italy-Austria Government-to-Government (G2G) Agreement announced by the relevant Authorities at the end of 2021. The handover of the aircraft, built at Leonardo’s Vergiate facility in Italy, achieved in line with the contractual obligations, was performed during an official ceremony held at the Tulln-Langenlebarn Brumowski Air Base, in the presence of Leonardo’s senior management. Austria and Italy also announced today a G2G Agreement amendment through which Austria is exercising options for an additional 18 helicopters, providing further evidence of its confidence in the selected platform.
Alessandro Profumo, Chief Executive Officer of Leonardo, said: “We’re pleased to see the first helicopter in Austria and we welcome the decision to further expand the fleet. We look forward to providing an even greater contribution to meet the requirements set by the collaboration between the two governments. It gives us great pleasure to see the first AW169M LUH here in Austria and we welcome the decision to further expand the fleet. We look forward to providing an even greater contribution with the most technologically advanced and cost-effective solution to meet the stringent requirements set by the collaboration between the two governments. We’re committed to sustaining this important and growing programme.”
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “The development of this programme and the handover of the first aircraft in line with the delivery schedule is the result of an amazing collaboration among all the involved parties. We know the outstanding technology, performance, multirole capabilities and complete services of the type will significantly boost national defence and emergency response, even more with today’s decision to rely on an even larger fleet in the future.”
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 first aircraft’s handover marks a significant leap forward for Austria, 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. 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 Leonardo AW169 is a twin-engine, 10-seat, 4.8t helicopter developed and manufactured by the helicopter division of Leonardo (formerly AgustaWestland, merged into Finmeccanica since 2016). It was designed to share similarities with the larger Leonardo AW139 and AW189. The AW169 is a medium-sized twin engine helicopter; upon launch, it held the distinction of being the first all new aircraft in its weight category in over 30 years. Weighing roughly 4,500 kg and accommodating 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. The AW169 is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210A FADEC turboshaft engines, which drives the main rotor at variable speeds to reduce external noise and increase efficiency. Newly developed dampeners were installed between the rotor blades of the main rotor in order to reduce vibration levels for a smooth passenger experience. The Leonardo AW169M LUH is a designation for militarised variant UH-169 LUH for the Italian Army, with adaptations for troop transport, utility support, maritime patrol, armed reconnaissance and close air support operations.