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.
April 2020 - The Italian Army has committed to the purchase of fifteen (15) AW169M helicopters in a deal worth $366.3 million USD.
June 2020 - The Italian Army has received its first AW169M helicopter trainer example. up to seventeen are on order for the service.
September 2020 - Austria has selected the Leonardo AW169M to succeed its aging fleet of Aerospatiale Allouette light helicopters.
November 2020 - Austria and Italy have joined to further the AW169M Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) variant. Eighteen will be taken on by Austria and succeed an aging fleet of Aerospatiale Alouette III light helicopters by the mid-2020s. Deliveries of the LUH are expected before then on or around 2022. Italy looks to acquire fifteen LUH models alongside a pair of dedicated UH-169B trainer helicopters.
Argentina (ordered); Austria (announced); Germany; Italy; New Zealand; Norway; Slovenia; Sweden; Taiwan; United Kingdom; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
✓Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.
48.1 ft (14.65 m)
8.3 ft (2.53 m)
14.8 ft (4.50 m)
7,055 lb (3,200 kg)
10,582 lb (4,800 kg)
+3,527 lb (+1,600 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Leonardo AW169 production variant)
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).
Typically None. For special mission support (SPECOPS, armed reconnaissance), can be armed by way of machine guns, gun pods, and cannon pods.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
AW169 - Base Series Designation.
AW169M - Militarized form.
AW169M LUH ("Light Utility Helicopter") - Modernized military variant for Austrian and Italian forces.
UH-169M - Dedicated AW169M series helicopter trainer.
(Cockpit image represents the Leonardo (AgustaWestland) AW169 production model)
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (190mph).
Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Leonardo AW169 operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
The 3 qualities we look at for a balanced aircraft design are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (75)
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history (Ilyushin IL-2 and Cessna 172, respectively).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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