Leonardo has delivered the first of the 22 AW169M intermediate twin-engine helicopters ordered by Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (GdF).
The handover event was held at Leonardo’s Vergiate plant on Nov. 12.
GdF signed a contract worth 280 million euros with Leonardo at the end of 2018 for 22 AW169Ms. The contract also included comprehensive support and training package which could be further extended with optional services valued at an additional 100 million euros. The delivery of all aircraft is expected to be completed by 2024, complementing a fleet of 14 AW139 intermediate twin helicopters.
The AW169M is the government/military variant of the AW169 4.8t twin-engine helicopter, designed and developed by Leonardo to the latest FAR/JAR/EASA requirements as well as those of military, homeland security, and government users. The helicopter obtained the military certification by ARMAEREO (Italian Directorate Air Armaments) in September 2019.
The AW169Ms of Guardia di Finanza will 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, OPLS (Obstacle Proximity Lidar System), advanced HUMS (Health Usage Monitoring System), AFCS (Automatic Flight Control System) with SAR modes, a searchlight, an ice detector, fast roping, SATCOM, and provisions for a hyperspectral detection and reconnaissance system.
The helicopters will be 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, V/UHF radio systems cockpit panels, and lighting.
The AW169Ms will be used by the GdF for various tasks including maritime police/patrol, homeland customs security, law enforcement, search and rescue (SAR), and other security duties.
To date there are more than 90 operative AW169s worldwide, orders for the helicopter exceed 200 units, from more than 80 customers in 30 different countries. There are also various applications for which this helicopter is used particularly VIP-corporate transport, SAR activities, government and law enforcement services.