Trainers Will Provide Familarisation as LUH Programme Develops
Leonardo delivered the first of two AW169 basic training helicopters to the Italian Army on 10 July. The second aircraft is expected to be handed over in the next few months.
The introduction of the new-generation training helicopter (designated UH-169B) will allow the Italian Army to prepare crews for the future operational transition to its all-new advanced multirole Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), developed on the AW169 dual-use baseline and aimed at a longer-term fleet modernisation and rationalization plan. The two AW169 trainers, which will enable the army to familiarise itself with the platform’s basic characteristics during development of the new LUH, are being supplied with comprehensive turnkey logistical support and a pilot/maintenance technician training package.
The LUH programme is aimed at progressively replacing ageing helicopters, including the A109, AB206, AB205, AB212 and AB412, to meet evolving operational requirements. It benefits from a more efficient supply chain based on a ‘single platform’ approach. The introduction of the AW169 LUH, specifically developed for the Italian Army leveraging the AW169M military helicopter baseline, also provides the advantage of unique logistical, operational and technical certification and training commonalities and synergies across the growing AW169 fleets of government operators in Italy. This potential for joint operations with other users represents a quantum leap in homeland security and emergency response capability, contributing to increased overall through-life-cycle cost/effectiveness for decades to come.
The overall AW169 LUH features dedicated flight/mission equipment including skid landing gear and an advanced C4 system to provide full interoperability with other assets in the NATO environment.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director Leonardo Helicopters, commented “The LUH will definitely represent the start of a new era in terms of capabilities, technical support, mission flexibility and interoperability in the light-weight segment. The new programme takes advantage of many decades of a successful partnership and continued exchange of information, intended to fully understand the changing operational needs and how to address them through the possibilities offered by new technologies.”