On Wednesday, Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner handed over the first multi-purpose helicopter “Leonardo AW169”, also known as “Lion”, to the air force in Langenlebarn.
During the ceremony, the option to purchase a further 18 helicopters was signed – this means that the army will have a total of 36 new helicopters by 2028. The total costs amount to around 873 million euros, which includes, for example, the costs for the construction and renovation of hangar systems, simulator buildings and the like.
Powerful multipurpose helicopter
“Our mission is ‘Forward!’ and we want to make our army more modern and operational. That’s why we decided on a powerful and versatile multi-purpose helicopter. With the option of an additional 18 helicopters, we are buying highly efficient and modern equipment that not only serves the safety of our soldiers, but the safety of the entire population,”Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner.
Training and mission helicopters
By 2028, 12 helicopters of the AW169B variant (training helicopters) and 24 of the AW169MA variant (armed tactical helicopters) and a comprehensive support and training package will be delivered to Austria. The new helicopters are intended to be the successors to the “Alouette III” light liaison and transport helicopters, which will be phased out in 2023.
The “Leonardo AW169” can be used, among other things, for transporting people and materials as well as for extinguishing work. For example, the helicopter can transport two to three times as much water as an “Alouette”, i.e. around 1,500 liters. The modern avionics enable the fulfillment of all operational tasks even at night or in poor weather conditions.
The possible uses range from troop transport, disaster relief and emergency response to firefighting, mountain rescue and medical evacuation flights to air protection in the armed version.
The “Leonardo AW169” is a 5-ton class helicopter powered by two engines, each with a continuous output of 826 kW. It reaches a top speed of 270 km/h and can fly over 800 km. The maximum flight duration is up to 4.3 hours. The payload of the helicopter is up to two tons and up to 12 people can be transported. 24 machines are stationed as training or mission helicopters in Langenlebarn and 12 mission helicopters in Aigen/Ennstal.