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Updated: Austria doubles down on Leonardo helicopter procurement

20th January 2023 - 10:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The AW169M can successfully perform a wide variety of roles, including troop transport, logistics support, reconnaissance, SAR and more. (Image: Leonardo)

Austria has formally finalised procurement of an additional 18 AW169 helicopters for multirole and training purposes from Italy.

The Italian Ministry of Defence previously announced in November that Austria had exercised an option to procure 18 more AW169 light utility helicopters from Italian manufacturer Leonardo Helicopters. A final contract was formally signed with Leonardo and the Italian National Armaments directorate on 19 January.

Six of the helicopters will be delivered in AW169B trainer configuration, while the remaining 12 will be in the AW169MA advanced multirole configuration.

The deal also covers spare parts, simulators, related training services and support for a period of three years.

The two nations previously signed a contract for 18 AW169s in December 2021, which was valued at €300 million ($349 million). That deal included an option for an additional 18 helicopters, which the partners have now exercised for $375 million. 

The aircraft will replace Austria’s ageing fleet of 21 Aerospatiale Alouette IIIs that are being retired by 2023.

The first aircraft from the original order for 18 was delivered in December 2022. Deliveries of all 36 are scheduled to be completed by 2028, Leonardo said. 

According to Shephard Defence Insight, AW169M is the customised military version of the multirole AW169. The 4.5t-class helicopter is designed to perform a range of light utility and armed attack roles, as well as observation and training missions. Italy is currently the only other confirmed customer for the type, with 22 on order for the country's army.

The Shephard News Team


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