Austria becomes first foreign customer for Italian Leonardo AW169M helicopters special military version

The Federal Ministry of Defense of Austria has signed a contract for the purchase of 18 multi-role helicopters AW169M Italian manufacturer Leonardo for a total of about 350 million euros.

“The Ministry of Defense has signed a contract for the purchase of 18 Italian Leonardo AW169M multi-role helicopters. The volume of the deal has increased from 300 to 350 million euros,” the statement said.

As per Austria, the reason for the increase in the value of the transaction is the need for additional investment in spare parts and personal protective equipment. In addition, there is a need to direct funds for the reconstruction of the hangar, construction of the simulator and other construction activities.

“The ministry has not yet been able to say how large all investments are made, including infrastructure,” writes Der Standard, the local newspaper.

The new Italian AW169M helicopters will replace the obsolete French Alouette III helicopters, which have been in service with the Austrian Armed Forces for about 50 years and will be disarmed in 2023. In the same year, “AW169M” helicopters will be used by the Austrian army, including for transportation of goods and personnel and firefighting.

Other options considered by the Austrian Defense Ministry for possible purchase are helicopters from the American company Bell and the European Airbus (Germany / France).

The Italian connection

The acquisition is being carried out as part of a joint procurement procedure with the Italian Ministry of Defense for this type of helicopter.

Of the 18 purchased AW169M helicopters, 12 are to go to the VeHSSta, and six to the training squad. Delivery of all AW169M helicopters is planned from mid-2022 to mid-2024, and one ground simulator is also to be delivered.

Thus, Austria has become the first foreign customer of the AW169M helicopter, a special military version of the commercial AW169 helicopter produced by AgustaWestland (now Leonardo Helicopters in Leonardo) since 2015. 

In April 2020, the Italian Ministry of Defense had signed an agreement with Leonardo contract worth 337 million euros for the development based on the AW169 military modifications AW169MA for Army Aviation in Italy under the program of the new light (in fact, middle) multipurpose helicopter Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and delivery of the first of 15 new helicopters AW169MA in 2022-2023. In 2020, the Italian army was also supplied with two AW169 (UH-169B) training helicopters in a commercial configuration, ordered under a contract from the Italian Ministry of Defense in December 2019.

In November 2018, 22 helicopters in the “paramilitary” modification AW169M under a contract worth 280 million euros were ordered by the Italian Financial Guard (Guardia di Finanza), the first helicopter was delivered to it in November 2019, the delivery of the rest is planned for the end of 2024. The Argentine gendarmerie ordered another AW169 helicopter.

AW169 helicopter

The AW169 helicopter has a maximum takeoff weight of up to 4850 kg and is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney PW210A turboshaft engines with a takeoff power of 1000 hp each. and carries up to 7-10 passenger

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