Italian Ministry of Defense awards contract to Leonardo aerospace for 15 AW169MA helicopters

The Italian Ministry of Defense has announced it has awarded Leonardo aerospace group an EUR 337m contract to develop and supply 15 AW169A light utility helicopters configured for the Italian Army, the ministry said.

The decision to proceed commits the ministry to a nine-year payment schedule. The deal is not subject to Italy´s 22% value added tax.

This procurement follows a previous contract, awarded to Leonardo on Dec. 20, 2019 but not made public, for the supply of the first two AW-169 Light Utility Helicopters in Addestratore Basico Commerciale (basic commercial training, A.B.C.) configuration.

The AW169MA version for the Army will be fitted with skids, instead of the wheeled landing gear of the Financial Police version, and will be qualified to an Alternate Gross Weight of 5,100 kg.

The Italian Army plans to procure additional AW169MAs to replace its fleet of aging AB206, AB205, AB212 and AB412 combat support helicopters, so as to solve obsolescence issues and to standardize its inventory to reduce support and training costs.

The follow-on contract awarded last week also includes two years of integrated logistic support with a guarantee of 400 flight hours per year for each of the two training helicopters, 432 hours of year of simulator training of Italian Army flight crew at the company´s Training Academy, and further training of six pilots as instructors.

An option allows the support package to be extended for an additional four years at a cost of EUR 10 million.