The Leonardo AW169 fills a special market need as a multi-role helicopter - able to fulfill a variety of overland an over-water roles as needed.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from official Leonardo marketing materials.
Credit: Image from official Leonardo marketing materials.
The AgustaWestland AW169 is a Leonardo of Italy medium-lift, utility-minded product developed for the 4.5 to 5-ton helicopter market. Versatility and performance are at the heart of the design which has led to the type seeing relatively widespread global adoption since inception in 2015. A prototype (one of four ultimately completed for the program) flew for the first time on May 10th, 2012. The helicopter originally emerged from the drawing boards of AgustaWestland after which the company fell under the Finmeccanica brand label. Today (2018), it falls under the Leonardo parent label.
On the global market, the system competes with types such as the Bell Model 429 GlobalRanger and the Eurocopter EC145 and can be used to cover a variety of roles in various sectors: security, energy, medical/rescue, executive/VIP transport and the like. The AW169 project was revealed at Farnborough 2010 and, in 2012, the program gained financial backing from authorities of the European Union (EU). European airspace type certification was granted in July of 2015 - though this was a year past the intended certification date and, in February of 2016, it received its American airspace type certification.
To expedite the AW169 project and ease long-term logistics and support, the helicopter borrows much from the existing AW139 and AW189 designs (both entries detailed elsewhere on this site).
The model AW169 showcases a sleek, aerodynamically-refined design with excellent vision given by the cockpit's placement and shallow nosecone. The nose section is well-glazed for optimal vision by the two operating crew seated side-by-side and the "chin" position can support a camera "blister" pack, searchlight and other pertinent mission equipment. The cockpit sports a Rockwell Collins digitally-assisted "glass" design complete with easy-to-use touchscreen interfaces offering a high level of automation, systems management, and mission flexibility. Aft of the cockpit is the passenger/cargo section set in its usual place. Entry-exit for the pilots is through hinged, automobile-style doors while the passenger cabin space is accessed via sliding doors. The twin-engine powerpack sits atop the cabin space driving a five-bladed, 39.8 foot main rotor unit and three-bladed tail rotor unit (the latter is seated facing the starboard side of the aircraft and driven by a shaft running through the tail stem). The tricycle undercarriage is wheeled and fully retractable, allowing the helicopter to maintain aerodynamic integrity for high-speed flight. The main legs are single-wheeled with the nose leg being double-wheeled.
Structural dimensions include an overall length of 48 feet, a width (main rotor included) of 39.8 feet, and a height of 14.8 feet. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) reaches 10,600lb.
Internally, drive power is from 2 x Pratt & Whitney PW210A turboshaft engines supplying 1,000 horsepower each. Each unit supports FADEC - Full-Authority Digital Engine Control - controlling engine performance. Maximum speeds can reach 190 miles per hour with a range out to 510 miles (or a mission endurance window up to 4+ hours).
Along with the two pilots, the helicopter can seat up to ten passengers in comfort as well as up to 550lb of accompanying cargo. In place of this can be carried two medical litters and accompanying medical staff numbering five.
The AW169 currently (2018) consists of two main production marks, the base AW169 model and the militarized AW169M. The M-model can be outfitted to perform various roles including armed reconnaissance, over-water patrol, and general transport. The AW169 AAS was a short-lived attempt of 2013 by AgustaWestland to sell the United States Army on the helicopter for its Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) requirement. The helicopter was not selected and the program ended without a winner before the end of 2013.
The helicopter has seen adoption in various marketplaces including civilian, military, and government. Operators include Argentina (national police), Germany (passenger transport), Italy (police), New Zealand (rescue), Norway (police and maritime support), Sweden (MEDEVAC), Taiwan (MEDEVAC), the United Kingdom (MEDEVAC), and the United States (MEDEVAC).
November 2018 - Leonardo has completed its first sale of twenty-two of the versatile AW169M (militarized) helicopters. These are set to be delivered to Italian police.
Status Active, In-Service
[ 50 Units ] : Leonardo S.p.A. (AgustaWestland) - Italy
Argentina; Germany; Italy; New Zealand; Norway; Sweden; Taiwan; United Kingdom; United States
- Close-Air Support (CAS)
- Navy / Maritime
- Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- Special Forces
48.06 ft (14.65 m)
8.30 ft (2.53 m)
14.76 ft (4.5 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Leonardo AW169 production model)
7,055 lb (3,200 kg)
10,582 lb (4,800 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Leonardo AW169 production model)
2 x Pratt & Whitney PW210A turboshaft engines developing 1,000 horsepower each and driving five-bladed main rotor unit and three-bladed tail rotor unit (starboard side).
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Leonardo AW169 production model)
190 mph (305 kph; 165 kts)
16,404 feet (5,000 m; 3.11 miles)
510 miles (820 km; 443 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Leonardo AW169 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
Typically None. For special mission support (SPECOPS, armed reconnaissance), can be armed by way of machine guns, gun pods, and cannon pods.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Leonardo AW169 production model)
AW169 - Base Series Designation.
AW169M - Militarized form.
(Cockpit image represents the Leonardo (AgustaWestland) AW169 production model)
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