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Leonardo and the Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness of the Italian Secretariat General of Defense/National Armaments Directorate signed yesterday the Acquisition Contract for the supply of AW169M Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) to the Austrian Ministry of Defense. The contract, valued at 346 million EUR, was signed in the framework of the Italy-Austria Government-to-Government (G2G) Agreement. It is aimed at reinforcing the bilateral collaboration between the two countries and establishing a strategic partnership in the rotorcraft sector, with Austria looking at Italy and the AW169M LUH program for the replacement of its ageing fleet of Alouette III aircraft, which have been in service since the 1960s.
The program envisages the delivery from Leonardo’s Vergiate final assembly plant (Northern Italy) of 18 helicopters – six AW169 in the ‘B’ variant, 12 in the ‘MA’ advanced multirole variant with integrated mission equipment and weapon systems – plus a comprehensive and customized support and training package. The helicopters will be able to carry out a wide range of missions supporting Austrian defense requirements and the national community, such as troop transport, combat operations, disaster relief and emergency response, fire-fighting, mountain rescue and MEDEVAC. The first AW169M LUH is expected to be delivered before year end and all helicopter’ deliveries are expected to be completed by 2026. The contract also includes options for a further 18 helicopters. Austrian crews will leverage initial training delivered with the support of Italian Army’s and its expertise as an AW169M LUH operator, and will also benefit from the supply of dedicated training and simulation devices.
Yesterday’s signing marks the latest step thanks to the preliminary G2G document, which was signed by the Italian Minister of Defense, Lorenzo Guerini and the Austrian Minister of Defense, Klaudia Tanner on 2 December 2021. Italian Minister of Defense, Lorenzo Guerini said: “We’re happy with this result which brings to a new phase of collaboration on procurement. It demonstrates the quality of Italian technology and products through international recognition. We really believe G2G is a highly effective industrial policy tool and a smart formula to support exports.”