The Austrian defense ministry has finalized a contract modification for the purchase of an additional 18 AW169M light utility helicopters (LUH) from Italy’s Leonardo.
The contract, valued at 304 million EUR, was signed following the Italy-Austria government-to-government (G2G) agreement amendment signed in December 2022, through which Austria is exercising options for these additional units.
Austria signed the contract a little under a month after receiving the first of the initial 18 helicopters on order in December last year. 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 after over 50 years of service.
This latest contract will bring the total number of AW169M LUHs in Austrian service to 36 units.
Austrian crews have already been leveraging initial training supplied at Leonardo’s training academy in Sesto Calende (Italy) and will be supported by the Italian Army’s training capabilities as an AW169M LUH operator.
Deliveries of all aircraft are expected to be completed by 2028.
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.
Thanks to the power and modularity offered by the AW169M, Austria will be able to use the helicopter not only for military operations but also for firefighting and search and rescue missions, in addition to avalanche control missions in the Alps.