The Italian Army has taken delivery of its first AW169 basic training twin engine helicopter from Italian defense contractor Leonardo in a ceremony held at the 2nd Rgt. AVES ‘Sirio’ based in Lamezia Terme.
According to the company, the second of the two aircraft is expected to be handed over in the next few months.
The introduction of the new generation training helicopter (designated UH-169B) allows the Italian Army to prepare its crews for the future operational transition to its all-new advanced multirole light utility helicopter (LUH). The two AW169 trainers will enable the Italian Army to familiarize with the platform’s basic characteristics during the development of the new LUH.
The LUH programme is aimed at progressively replacing ageing models including the A109, AB206, AB205, AB212 and AB412 to meet the evolving operational requirements.
The introduction of the AW169 LUH, developed for the Italian Army leveraging on the AW169M military helicopter baseline, also provides the advantage of logistical, operational and technical commonalities across the growing AW169 fleets of government operators in Italy. Leonardo says the overall AW169 LUH program is based on a multirole configuration provided with dedicated flight/mission equipment including, among others, skids landing gear and an advanced C4 command, control and communication system to grant full interoperability with the other assets in the NATO environment.
“It gives us great pleasure to celebrate with the Italian Army the delivery of its first AW169 in basic training configuration as an essential enabler ahead of the implementation of the new, broader LUH program,” Gian Piero Cutillo, managing director Leonardo Helicopters, said. “The LUH will definitely represent the start of a new era in terms of capabilities, technical support, mission flexibility and interoperability in the light weight segment.”