PRESS RELEASE – Rome, 24 January 2023
- The aircraft will be part of a fleet of 24 units, including six with fixed landing gear and 18 with skids. Deliveries are expected to be completed in 2024, complementing a fleet of 20 AW139s
- The global AW169 fleet, with more than 150 units delivered to operators in nearly 30 countries, has logged in excess of 135,000 flight hours in all conditions and a variety of operations. Customers worldwide have placed orders and options for over 320 AW169 helicopters to date
Leonardo and Guardia di Finanza (Italy’s Police Force with general capability in economic and financial matters as well as the only maritime Police Force in Italy) celebrated today the delivery of the operator’s first AW169M light-intermediate twin engine helicopter in a special configuration featuring skids. The handover was performed at Leonardo’s Vergiate assembly line (Varese) during an official ceremony in presence of representatives from the customer and the company.
The aircraft will be part of an AW169M fleet of 24 units, including six with fix landing gear and eighteen with skid undercarriage. All aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2024 complementing a fleet of 20 AW139 intermediate twin helicopters. The AW169Ms are used for various tasks including: maritime police/patrol, homeland customs security, law enforcement, rescue, and other security duties.
Guardia di Finanza first received the military-certified AW169M in late 2019, enhancing its fleet modernisation plans. The aircraft of Guardia di Finanza feature a dedicated configuration including: a rescue hoist, an emergency floatation system and life rafts, wire cutters, TCAS II (Traffic Collision Avoidance System), a NVG (Night Vision Goggle) compatible cockpit, HTAWS (Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System), an advanced communication system, advanced HUMS (Health Usage Monitoring System), a searchlight, an ice detector, SATCOM, mobile phone detector and hyperspectral detection and reconnaissance system. The helicopters are also fitted with a range of Leonardo systems such as a RW ATOS (Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance) system with an advanced operator console, Gabbiano radar, LEOSS (Long Range Electro-Optical Surveillance System), M428 IFF transponder, OPLS (Obstacle Proximity Lidar System), V/UHF radio systems cockpit panels and lighting.
The latest delivery introduces unique IFR, single pilot, Advanced Search and Rescue (SAR) Modes with dedicated FMS (Flight Management System) search patterns enabling the aircraft to automatically fly along a predefined search path, which reduces pilot’s workload on the search phase of a SAR mission. The AW169 is the only helicopter in its weight category that features Advanced SAR Modes.
The AW169M represents the military variant of the AW169, the future generation helicopter developed by Leonardo. It is equipped with state-of-the-art on board technologies, designed to the latest FAR/JAR/EASA requirements as well as those standards of military, homeland security and government users.
The platform features outstanding power, agility and manoeuvrability, which provides excellent handling characteristics in a wide range of operating conditions including hot and high. The unique transmission design provides power to hydraulic, electrical and air conditioning systems with the rotors stopped (APU mode) optimising response time and availability. The cabin is the most spacious in its class and features a constant height cross section for rapid reconfiguration and ease of access. Pilots benefit from a latest-generation, open-architecture avionics suite, including a fully-digital glass cockpit and unprecedented external visibility, providing advanced tactical and situational awareness.
The global AW169 fleet, with more than 150 units delivered to operators in nearly 30 countries, has logged in excess of 135,000 flight hours in all kind of operations and conditions. Customers worldwide have placed orders and options for over 320 AW169 helicopters to date, including military and law enforcement/public service operators, to carry out a range of missions including utility, surveillance, special operations, maritime patrol, land reconnaissance, training, rescue and fire-fighting. In Italy, the adoption of the AW169M by operators among armed forces and government law enforcement agencies replacing many ageing models provides the advantage of unique logistical, operational and technical, certification and training commonalities and synergies across the growing AW169 fleets. This strengthens the possibility to perform effective and safe joint operations with other users of this modern type and represents a quantum leap in homeland security, emergency response capability and overall through-lifecycle costs/effectiveness for decades to come.