The AW169 light intermediate twin engine helicopter’s operational capabilities and configuration options grow further with the recent EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification of the skid undercarriage and unique IFR, single pilot, Advanced Search and Rescue (SAR) Modes. These latest achievements follow additional enhancements, such as the introduction of the Phase 8 core avionics software release combined with HTAWS (Helicopter terrain Awareness Warning System) Offshore Modes.
The introduction of skids adds to the existing retractable and fixed landing gear options, providing the market with all three undercarriage solutions. This makes the AW169 the only modern CS29-certified aircraft able to offer all options, further demonstrating the versatility by design of the type. This certification will enable the start of aircraft deliveries with the skid configuration, the initial handover is planned for Italy’s law enforcement operators.
The Advanced Search and Rescue (SAR) Modes introduce dedicated FMS (Flight Management System) search patterns enabling the aircraft to automatically fly along a predefined search path, which reduces pilot’s workload on the search phase of a SAR mission. The AW169 is the only helicopter in its weight category that features Advanced SAR Modes. The high level of automation, which is delivered allows for single pilot capable SAR modes certification, making the AW169 the world’s first civil-certified helicopter with this capability. Further ongoing developments to expand the range of options and kits, also include a 700-880kg capable modular fuel tank installation or a 3-seat installation in the third seat row increasing thenumber of passengers in the cabin to 11 providing operators with an even greater degree of freedom to maximise mission versatility in terms of payload and range. These latest enhancements add to the performance increase packages, which were certified in late 2021 and deliver greater performance in all conditions for all applications making the AW169 the helicopter with the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.
Designed with the principle of maximum flexibility, the type stays true to this value today and in the future to meet the most stringent requirements. The AW169 continues to provide all new capabilities to operators looking for an ideal combination of light helicopter cost with higher category performance, payload, and cabin space, all combined with comprehensive and ever-growing support and training services.
The introduction of the AW169 has further strengthened the competitiveness and market position of Leonardo in the world helicopter market. It has expanded Leonardo’s presence in the emergency medical service market and added more operators for law enforcement, disaster relief, and fire-fighting duties. It further reinforces the company’s leadership in the multi-engine VIP market providing operators with one more option fitting between the popular AW109 series and the bestselling AW139 models. It adds one more solution for shorter range operations supporting the energy sector and allows Leonardo to play a growing role in the new wind farm support field. Moreover, its dual-use design has responded to a range of government, homeland security and defence requirements in Italy and abroad for missions like surveillance, troop transport, combat operations, disaster relief and emergency response, fire-fighting, training, mountain rescue and medevac.
Over 300 AW169s are on order today, with around 150 units delivered from the Vergiate final assembly line (Italy) to operators in 25 countries. The global fleet has logged in excess of 125,000 flight hours in all kind of operations and conditions. The fleet leader has exceeded 3000 flight hours in EMS operations in Sweden.