Leonardo has signed a contract with the Italian Directorate of Aeronautical Armaments and Airworthiness (ARMAEREO) to supply 18 more AW169M light utility helicopters (LUH) to the Austrian Ministry of Defence (MOD).
This contract, which is worth an estimated €304m, was signed on January 18 and comes after a government-to-government (G2G) agreement of intent was signed between Austria and Italy in December 22 - a year after the initial order for the first batch of 18 AW169Ms was placed by Austria. This newly signed acquisition contract doubles the total number of AW169Ms that will be delivered to the Austrian Air Force, bringing the overall fleet size to 36.
In Austrian service, the new LUH will be used to perform troop transport, aerial firefighting, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), mountain rescue and disaster relief operations. Key.Aero was told that the Austrian AW169Ms will be equipped with 12.7mm heavy machine gun pods, 70mm unguided rockets, laser-end phase Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APWKS)-type rockets and an electro-optical/forward-looking infrared (EO/FLIR) turret. While not fitted permanently, these armaments will be carried on weapons pylons which can be easily installed and removed within a matter of hours.
Deliveries of the AW169M commenced on December 21, 2022, when the first AW169M was flown to Langenlebarn Air Base in Vienna. AirForces Monthly was present at the event and you can read more about the delivery and Austria’s procurement of the LUH in the upcoming March issue of the magazine.