Italian Army receives AW169 trainer helos ahead of wider multirole procurement

by Gareth Jennings

The Italian Army has received into service its first AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter for pilot training ahead of development and procurement of a new multirole variant.

The Italian Army has received the first of two AW169 trainer helicopters, ahead of the arrival of the multirole AW169 LUH. (Leonardo)

The Italian Army has received the first of two AW169 trainer helicopters, ahead of the arrival of the multirole AW169 LUH. (Leonardo)

The delivery, announced by Leonardo on 10 July, was for one of the two helicopters (designated UH-169B in Italian service) that will support air- and ground-crew familiarisation on the type ahead of the army’s wider transition over to the multirole AW169 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).

A ceremony to mark the milestone was held at the 2nd Army Aviation Regiment ‘Sirio’, located at Lamezia Terme. The second helicopter is expected to be handed over in the next few months.

The disclosure of the delivery of the first trainer helicopter follows an announcement in January that the AW169M was to be bought to replace the army’s Bell AB 205, AB 212, and AB 412 LUHs, and to augment its Boeing CH-47F Chinook, NHIndustries NH90, AgustaWestland A129 (and later A249) helicopters. This is being dubbed a ‘one single platform’ approach by the Italian Army.

According to a procurement document released in April, the deal with Leonardo, which is valued at EUR337 million (USD301 million), comprises the two trainer helicopters, as well as approval for the start of development of 15 new ‘advanced multirole’ configuration helicopters for the Italian Army.

With development of the multirole version of the AW169 LUH in its very early stages, no details have yet been released. That said, it will likely be similar in scope and capability to the AW169M (Military) that AgustaWestland pitched for the US Army's subsequently-cancelled Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) competition in 2013.

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The Italian Army has received into service its first AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter for pilot train...

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