Italy’s Carabinieri takes a further step forward in the framework of their helicopter fleet modernization, taking delivery of their sixth Leonardo AW169M. Visiting the Leonardo’s Vergiate final assembly line facility yesterday, Carabinieri’s General Commander Lieutenant General Teo Luzi had a chance to get an update on the progress made in the service’s modernization programme and to see the three new helicopter models acquired in recent years – AW139, AW169M and AW119Kx – which allow the best mission management depending on a range of operational needs.

The helicopter fleet modernization programme, which also includes comprehensive technical support and training services for maintenance technicians and pilots/crews, allows the growth of the Carabinieri Air Service’s capabilities, enhancing the security of national communities.

Thanks to the technology available on the new helicopters, it is possible to carry out a range of patrol and reconnaissance tasks over land, identifying critical targets, gathering investigation evidence, and supporting ground units’ activities. Other duties also comprise environment monitoring and protection, and, if asked by the National Disaster Relief Authority, firefighting in addition to rescue missions.

The Carabinieri’s AW169Ms feature a special configuration including a rescue hoist, wire cutter, fast roping system, cargo hook, advanced ground proximity system, a night vision goggle-compatible cockpit, and searchlight. Further equipment and mission systems provided by Leonardo are integrated into the helicopter, including, among others, the LEOSS II electro-optics, mission console, IFF transponder, tactical radio, and the OPLS (Obstacle Proximity LiDAR System) collision avoidance system.

The AW169M helicopter

The AW169M represents the military variant of the AW169, the future generation helicopter developed by Leonardo and equipped with state-of-the-art onboard technologies designed to the latest FAR/JAR/EASA requirements and those standards of military, homeland security, and government users.

The platform features outstanding power, agility, and maneuverability, which provides excellent handling characteristics in a wide range of operating conditions, including hot and high. The unique transmission design provides power to hydraulic, electrical, and air conditioning systems with the rotors stopped (APU mode), optimizing response time and availability. The cabin is the most spacious in its class and features a constant height cross section for rapid reconfiguration and ease of access. Pilots benefit from a latest-generation, open-architecture avionics suite, including a fully digital glass cockpit and unprecedented external visibility, providing advanced tactical and situational awareness.

The global AW169 fleet, with over 170 units delivered from Vergiate to operators in nearly 30 countries, has logged over 170,000 flight hours in various operations and conditions. Customers worldwide have placed orders for over 320 AW169 helicopters to date, including military and law enforcement/public service operators, to carry out various missions, including utility, surveillance, special operations, maritime patrol, land reconnaissance, training, rescue, and firefighting.

In Italy, adopting the AW169M by operators among armed forces and government law enforcement agencies, replacing many aging models, provides the advantage of unique logistical, operational and technical, certification, and training commonalities and synergies across the growing AW169 fleets. This action strengthens the possibility of performing effective and safe joint operations with other users of this modern type. It represents a quantum leap in homeland security, emergency response capability, and overall through-lifecycle costs/effectiveness for decades.

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