Home Air Austria receives first AW169M, orders 18 more

Austria receives first AW169M, orders 18 more

Austria receives AW169M helicopter
The first Austrian AW169 performed its first official flight as part of the delivery ceremony on December 21, 2022. Photo: Austrian defense ministry

The Austrian defense ministry has taken delivery of its first AW169M light utility helicopter from Italian manufacturer Leonardo at the Tulln-Langenlebarn Brumowski Air Base.

On the same day, the defense ministry exercised options for an additional 18 helicopters, which means that by 2028, Austria will receive 12 AW169B training variants and 24 of the AW169MA armed tactical helicopter variants.

The new helicopters are intended to be the successors to the “Alouette III” light liaison and transport helicopters, which will be phased out in 2023.

Photo: Austrian defense ministry

“Our mission is ‘Forward!’ and we want to make our army more modern and operational. That’s why we decided on a powerful and versatile multi-purpose helicopter. With the option of an additional 18 helicopters, we are buying highly efficient and modern equipment that not only serves the safety of our soldiers, but the safety of the entire population,” said defense minister Klaudia Tanner at the handover ceremony on December 21.

Austria placed its first order for the AW169M in 2020, picking the helicopter over the Bell 429 and Airbus H145M. The country said the decision was mainly made because of logistical issues as neither Germany (who offered the H145M) nor Canada and the US (who offered the Bell 429) operated the helicopters they offered.

Powered by two Pratt&Whitney PW201A engines, the AW169M has a maximum takeoff weight of 4,600 kg and a top speed of 284 km/h. It can transport 10 passengers.

While the first helicopter delivery is a milestone for Austria, it is also significant for Leonardo, who celebrated the first delivery to the export market of the AW169M variant under a government to government program.

“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,” Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, said.