Leonardo Delivers AW169M In New Skid Undercarriage Configuration

Leonardo Delivers AW169M In New Skid Undercarriage Configuration


Essential picture: the brand new AW169M of the Guardia di Finanza (Picture credit score: Oscar Bernardi). Within the packing containers, the AW169 for Austria Picture: Daniel Trippolt / Bundesheer); the GdF AW169M in flight (Leonardo) and a detailed up view (Oscar Bernardi)

The Austrian army and the Italian Guardia di Finanza are the primary operators of the latest variant of the AW169.

Leonardo has not too long ago begun the supply of the latest variant of its AW169M light-intermediate twin engine helicopter, which replaces the standard wheeled landing gear with skids. The skid undercarriage, which represents another choice different that the already accessible fastened and retractable touchdown gear, was licensed by EASA (European Aviation Security Company) in November 2022, along with another not too long ago launched capabilities.

The Guardia di Finanza (Italy’s Customs Police Drive with common functionality in financial and monetary issues in addition to the one maritime Police Drive in Italy) took supply of its first AW169 with the new skid undercarriage on January 24, 2023. The handover was carried out at Leonardo Helicopters’ Vergiate meeting line throughout an official ceremony in presence of representatives from the Guardia di Finanza and Leonardo.

The brand new AW169M of the Guardia di Finanza (Picture credit score: Oscar Bernardi)

The helicopter shall be a part of an AW169M fleet of 24 items, together with six with fastened touchdown gear and eighteen with skid undercarriage. Guardia di Finanza first acquired the military-certified AW169M with normal touchdown gear in late 2019. All helicopters are anticipated to be delivered by 2024, complementing a fleet of 20 AW139 intermediate helicopters already in service.

The AW169M options wonderful dealing with traits in a variety of working circumstances, because of its energy, agility and manoeuvrability, satisfying the necessities of the assorted missions units of the Guardia di Finanza. The helicopters, that are designated PH-169A in accordance with Italy’s MoD Mission Design Sequence, are used for varied duties together with maritime police/patrol, homeland customs safety, regulation enforcement, search and rescue, and different safety duties.

One other picture of the GdF AW169M. (Picture credit score: Oscar Bernardi)

With the intention to carry out these duties, the AW169s of Guardia di Finanza characteristic a devoted configuration which features a rescue hoist, an emergency floatation system and life rafts, wire cutters, TCAS II (Site visitors Collision Avoidance System), a NVG (Evening Imaginative and prescient Goggle) suitable cockpit, HTAWS (Helicopter Terrain Consciousness Warning System), a sophisticated communication system, superior HUMS (Well being Utilization Monitoring System), a searchlight, an ice detector, SATCOM, cell phone detector and hyperspectral detection and reconnaissance system.

The helicopters are additionally fitted with a spread of Leonardo methods resembling a RW ATOS (Airborne Tactical Remark and Surveillance) system with a sophisticated operator console, Gabbiano radar, LEOSS (Lengthy Vary Electro-Optical Surveillance System), M428 IFF transponder, OPLS (Impediment Proximity Lidar System), V/UHF radio methods cockpit panels and lighting.

The newest variant of the AW169 introduces distinctive IFR, single pilot, Superior Search and Rescue (SAR) Modes with devoted FMS (Flight Administration System) search patterns enabling the plane to routinely fly alongside a predefined search path, which reduces pilot’s workload on the search phase of a SAR mission. The AW169 is the one helicopter in its weight class that options Superior SAR Modes, in response to Leonardo.

The primary Aw169 with skid undercarriage delivered to the Italian Guardia di Finanza. (Picture: Leonardo)

Only a month earlier than, on December 21, 2022, the Austrian Ministry of Defence took additionally supply of its first AW169M with skid undercarriage. The helicopter is the primary from an preliminary order of 18 items, following an Italy-Austria Authorities-to-Authorities (G2G) Settlement introduced on the finish of 2021. This additionally represents the primary export deal of the AW169M helicopter.

The 2 international locations introduced in that event a G2G Settlement modification by which Austria is exercising options for an additional 18 helicopters, bringing to 36 the whole variety of AW169M Mild Utility Helicopters for the Bundesheer (Austrian Armed Forces). The acquisition contract, valued at 304 million EUR, was then signed on January 18, 2023.

The handover of the plane, constructed at Leonardo’s Vergiate facility, occurred throughout an official ceremony held on the Tulln-Langenlebarn Brumowski Air Base. The AW169M will exchange the ageing Alouette III plane fleet, which have been in service for the reason that Nineteen Sixties and shall be retired this 12 months. The AW169M will perform a variety of missions supporting Austrian defence requirements and the population, resembling troop transport, fight operations, catastrophe aid and emergency response, fire-fighting, mountain rescue and MEDEVAC.

In accordance with the reviews, the primary helicopter delivered, sporting the serial 5M-IA, is definitely an AW169B and arrived in Austria every week earlier to carry out some take a look at flights earlier than the official supply. This additionally displays earlier reviews that the order was divided in six AW169Bs coaching helicopters and twelve AW169MAs superior multirole helicopters, with the choice for an additional twelve AW169MAs and 6 AW169Bs.

The Italy-Austria G2G initiative is aimed toward reinforcing the bilateral collaboration between the 2 international locations and establishing a strategic partnership within the rotorcraft sector. In accordance with Austrian web sites, the Federal Ministry of Defence was in search of a accomplice which might be keen to completely cooperate with the Austrian Armed Forces in all areas of the operation of army helicopters, so as to have the ability to work cost-effectively over your complete life cycle. Austrian crews have already been leveraging preliminary coaching equipped at Leonardo’s Coaching Academy in Sesto Calende and shall be supported by the Italian Army’s training capabilities as the main AW169M LUH operator.

Actually, the LUH program was initiated by the Italian Ministry of Defence to exchange the ageing Fight Assist Helicopters (Elicotteri da Supporto al Combattimento, ESC) at present in service with the Italian Military, just like the A-109, AB-205, AB-206, AB-212 and AB-412, whereas filling the gaps because of the obsolescence of the present fleet and optimizing logistics with a single-platform fleet, as a substitute of the present one primarily based on 5 completely different helicopters that have been put in service between the Seventies and the Nineteen Nineties.

The superior multirole configuration of the AW169 LUH at present in growth shall be externally just like those not too long ago delivered and can characteristic devoted flight and mission gear together with NVG-compatible built-in glass cockpit, superior C4 methods (Command, Management, Communication and Computer systems), rescue hoist and rappelling/quick roping gear, Electro-Optical/Infra-Purple (EO/IR) system, self-defense methods, searchlight, loudspeakers, cargo hook and each inner and exterior weapon stations.

The Army already received a training version of the LUH, which has been designated UH-169B. The UH-169B is formally configured as “Addestratore Basico Commerciale” (Fundamental Business Coach) and is getting used the coaching of the crews that may fly the ultimate configuration of the helicopter, known as “Multiruolo Avanzato” (Superior Multirole). It’s potential that the primary helicopter delivered to the Austrian MoD has an analogous configuration, with the principle distinction being the touchdown gear (the Italian UH-169B has a regular touchdown gear as a substitute of skids).

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist primarily based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of army operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.


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