Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner has announced that her country has placed an order for 18 AW169M helicopters from Leonardo, following recommendation of Chief of Staff Robert Brieger. The procurement is to replace and expand on the capability of the Alouete III fleet, which has provided 50 years of service and will be retiring from mid-2022 with the last of the remaining fleet landing at the end of 2023.
Austria has a long-standing relationship with Leonardo, having operated fleets of AB204, AB206 and AB212 helicopters, built by Leonardo (under its earlier name Agusta) under licence from Bell.
The contract price of around €300 million includes not just the aircraft themselves, but all the technology, logistics, training and infrastructure requirements. The first AW169M is expected to be delivered to Austria in mid-2022. Twelve of these helicopters will be deployed from as emergency helicopters from the base at Aigen im Ennstal, while six will be stationed for training at Langenlebarn.
The AW169M won the procurement against the Bell 429 and the Airbus H145M.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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