Having launched the AW169 medium-twin helicopter in 2010, Leonardo (formerly AgustaWestland) has experienced healthy sales for the aircraft, including in Brazil, where it has sold approximately 20 of the model. The type is making its LABACE show debut this year, with the company’s AW169 VIP demonstrator visiting as part of an Americas sales tour.
As the first new design to be offered in its class for around three decades, the 4.6/4.8-tonne AW169 brings a wealth of modern features and a versatility that allows it to undertake a range of civilian and government tasks. These include VIP transport, offshore support, EMS (emergency medical services), and police duties. There is also an AW169M militarized version.
Aimed at the sector previously dominated by the Sikorsky S-76, the AW169 typically accommodates seven to 11 passengers or can be outfitted for special missions. In the air ambulance role it can accommodate two stretchers with up to five medical attendants.
Powering the AW169 is a pair of Fadec-equipped 1,000-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210A turbines that drive a variable-speed main rotor, which improves efficiency and reduces the external noise footprint. The open-architecture avionics include three active-matrix liquid crystal touchscreen displays from Rockwell Collins, four-axis digital automatic flight control system, and dual flight management systems.
EASA certification was received in July 2015, followed by FAA approval in February 2017. The AW169 was originally to have been built at two sites, Vergiate in Italy and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, but for now the U.S. factory is concentrating on the AW119Kx and AW139.