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Austria exercises option for 18 further AW169 helicopters

The first of an initial 18 AW169 helicopters was delivered to the Austrian Air Force earlier in December. A further 18 are to be ordered, with all delivered by 2028. (Georg Mader)

Austria has signed a declaration of intent (DOI) with Italy to acquire an additional 18 Leonardo AW169 medium-twin helicopters.

Austrian Minister of Defence Klaudia Tanner and her Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto signed the DOI on 21 December, during a ceremony to mark the arrival of the first of the initial batch of 18 helicopters at Langenlebarn Air Base, north of Vienna.

The DOI is part of a wider raft of increased defence co-operation between the two countries that also covers further engineering activities on Austrian-defined military equipment, further synthetic pilot training in Italy, and logistical services beyond the initial support package.

With the first AW169 now delivered, the second is scheduled to arrive in Austria in February 2023. Janes was told that some of the helicopters will be equipped with a weapons package that will consist of 12.7 mm heavy machine gun pods, 70 mm unguided and laser-guided rockets, as well as an electro-optic/infrared sensor.

The total AW169 package is valued at EUR873 million (USD929 million). Under an accelerated timeline resulting from the war in Ukraine, Austria will receive all 36 helicopters by 2028.

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