Leonardo has announced the delivery of the first of two AW169 twin engine basic trainer helicopters to the Italian Army ahead of the development and procurement of a new generation multirole LUH for the service.
The delivery heralds the start of a new programme – the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) – that will see the platform enable a step-change in capability to the operator and the country. Analysts say the milestone would also garner interest of potential operators of the helicopter type including those in the Asia-Pacific.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director Leonardo Helicopters, said: “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate with the Italian Army the delivery of its first AW169 in basic training configuration as an essential enabler ahead of the implementation of the new, broader LUH programme.
The next-generation training helicopters will train crews in preparation for the transition to the new advanced multirole LUH helicopter, developed on the AW169 dual-use baseline specifically for the Italian Army.
“The LUH configuration will leverage the AW169M (designated UH-169B) military helicopter baseline, developed to meet the specific needs of the Italian government operators and which is a further example of our close work with customers to develop tailored configurations of our platforms to meet specific mission requirements.
“One single new-generation platform which is aimed at progressively replacing a range of ageing types in different classes, “ a company statement said.
It said the AW169’s mission systems, equipment, avionics, sensors and airframe, as well as other specific features, can all be adapted to the operator’s needs, while a common baseline imparts advantages in interoperability, logistics and training. The July 10 ceremony was held at the 2nd Rgt. AVES “Sirio” based in Lamezia Terme in the presence of representatives from the operator and industry.
The Italian Army’s LUH programme will deliver logistic, operational, technical, certification and training efficiencies in the growing AW169 fleets of government operators across Italy, resulting in outstandingly effective and safe joint homeland security and emergency response missions.
The LUH programme is aimed at progressively replacing ageing models including the A109, AB206, AB205, AB212 and AB412 to meet the evolving operational requirements, and benefits from a more efficient supply chain based on a “one single platform” approach.
Currently, orders for over 220 AW169 helicopters have been placed by customers worldwide, 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 firefighting. -– shp/mgm