AgustaWestland AW169 was developed by Leonardo, formerly AgustaWestland then merged into Finmeccanica from 2016. AgustaWestland AW169 is a twin-engine, 10 seats helicopter, developed and manufactured by Leonardo’s helicopter division (formerly AgustaWestland, merged into Finmeccanica from 2016).
We still remember, on the evening of October 27, 2018 the whole football world was shocked by the accident of Leicester City president, Mr. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. The billionaire’s helicopter had a problem, tumbling through the air before crashing into the ground and exploding. The accident killed all 5 people on the helicopter. Mr. Vichai’s personal helicopter is the AgustaWestland AW169 model. This accident is an unfortunate incident because before the accident, this helicopter model was considered to be highly safe, having never had an accident before, despite some minor technical problems.
On July 19, 2010, AgustaWestland officially announced that AW169 was being developed at the Farnborough International Air Show. According to AgustaWestland, the 4.5-ton AW169 is a twin-engine helicopter, intended for a wide range of utility operations.
In 2011, the UK government provided a $33 million loan to AgustaWestland to develop the AW169 program. In 2012, the European Union (EU) also approved an interest-free loan of 272 million euros from the Italian government to AgustaWestland to fund AW169 development. On May 10, 2012, the first prototype of this aircraft made the first flight. The test program involved a total of 4 prototypes: the second and third AW169 flew in late 2012, and the fourth in 2013. AgustaWestland initially predicted that AW169 would receive flight certificates in 2014 and planned AW169 production by 2015. In fact, it was not until July 15, 2015 that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a certification to AW169.
The helicopter is integrated with many modern technologies, reducing vibration, providing a smoother flying experience for passengers. When launched, AgustaWestland AW169 was the most superior helicopter model in the 4.6 to 4.8 ton segment. The system is said to be a direct competitor to such models as Bell Model 429 GlobalRanger and Eurocopter EC145. In addition to the commercial variant capable of carrying up to 10 passengers, the AW169 also has special versions for rescue missions, military or special versions according to customers’ individual requirements.
It is known that the average price of an AW169 will be about $8 million, while if the interior is changed, the price will be a little higher than the regular version. Currently most of the AW169s were manufactured is serving in the private sector or government agencies of some countries, of which the most used AW169 is the UK.
In addition to the civilian model, Leonardo also introduced another variant, AW169M, designation for militarised variant, with adaptations for troop transport, utility support, maritime patrol, armed reconnaissance and close air support operations.