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Leonardo: Next-generation versatility

Sponsored Content | December 11, 2023

Estimated reading time 5 minutes, 39 seconds.

This sponsored article was created by Insight magazine, the sponsored content division of MHM Publishing, on behalf of Leonardo.

Designed with maximum flexibility, the versatile AW169 is Leonardo’s next-generation helicopter in the light-intermediate category that combines best-in-class performances with superior range and safety. 

The AW169 stays true to this value today and in the future to meet the most stringent requirements. It continues to provide all-new capabilities to operators looking for an ideal combination of light helicopter cost with higher category performance, payload, and cabin space, combined with comprehensive and ever-growing support and training services.

Leonardo is constantly investing in program enhancement, as demonstrated by the recent introductions of performance increase packages, skid and advanced search-and-rescue (SAR) mode certifications, providing all-new mission capabilities and configuration options.

Lloyd Horgan Photo

The performance increase packages, certified in late 2021, deliver extraordinary performance in all conditions for all applications — giving the AW169 helicopter the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.

Advanced SAR modes include dedicated flight management system (FMS) search patterns enabling the aircraft to automatically fly along a predefined search path, reducing the pilot’s workload in the search phase of a SAR mission.

The AW169 is the only helicopter in its weight category with advanced SAR modes. The high level of automation allows for single-pilot capable SAR modes certification, making the AW169 the world’s first civil-certified helicopter with this capability. There are more enhancements to follow, such as introducing the Phase 8 core avionics software release combined with helicopter terrain awareness and warning system (HTAWS) offshore modes.

The AW169 4.8-ton has further strengthened Leonardo’s competitiveness and market position in the world’s helicopter market. It has expanded Leonardo’s presence in the emergency medical service (EMS) market and added more operators for law enforcement, disaster relief, and firefighting.

Recently, an order for one AW169 (plus an option for a second unit) by the Phoenix Police Department in Arizona marked the type’s entry into the North American law enforcement market, adding one more leading law enforcement operator to the list of police, security agencies or firefighting departments that have selected the AW169 in nations like Italy, Norway, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovenia and Indonesia.

Additionally, the AW169 reinforces the company’s leadership in the multi-engine VIP market providing operators with one more option fitting between the popular AW109 series and the bestselling AW139 models.

The AW169 also adds another solution for shorter range operations supporting the energy sector, allowing Leonardo to grow in the new wind farm support field. This is demonstrated by the recent expansion in the offshore wind farm support operations market in the U.S. — operated by HeliService USA, a veteran-owned small business that has partnered with Germany’s HeliService International GmbH to represent its brand in the U.S. HeliService USA has been able to build off their over three decades in operation, supporting offshore wind customers with crew-transfer, hoisting, cargo, and helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS).

Furthermore, its dual-use design has responded to various government, homeland security and defense requirements for missions such as surveillance, troop transport, combat operations, disaster relief, emergency response, firefighting, training, mountain rescue and medevac.

Over 320 AW169s are on order today, with around 160 units delivered from the Vergiate final assembly line in Italy to operators in over 30 countries. The global fleet has logged more than 160,000 flight hours in various operations and conditions, with the fleet leader exceeding 3,500 flight hours in EMS operations in Sweden. 

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