Leonardo and Guardia di Finanza (Italy’s Police Force with general capability in economic and financial matters as well as the only maritime Police Force in Italy) celebrated today the delivery of the operator’s first AW169M light-intermediate twin engine helicopter in a special configuration featuring skids. The handover was performed at Leonardo’s Vergiate assembly line (Varese) during an official ceremony in presence of representatives from the customer and the company.
The aircraft will be part of an AW169M fleet of 24 units, including six with fix landing gear and eighteen with skid undercarriage. All aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2024 complementing a fleet of 20 AW139 intermediate twin helicopters. The AW169Ms are used for various tasks including: maritime police/patrol, homeland customs security, law enforcement, rescue, and other security duties.
Guardia di Finanza first received the military-certified AW169M in late 2019, enhancing its fleet modernisation plans. The aircraft of Guardia di Finanza feature a dedicated configuration including: a rescue hoist, an emergency floatation system and life rafts, wire cutters, TCAS II (Traffic Collision Avoidance System), a NVG (Night Vision Goggle) compatible cockpit, HTAWS (Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System), an advanced communication system, advanced HUMS (Health Usage Monitoring System), a searchlight, an ice detector, SATCOM, mobile phone detector and hyperspectral detection and reconnaissance system. The helicopters are also fitted with a range of Leonardo systems such as a RW ATOS (Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance) system with an advanced operator console, Gabbiano radar, LEOSS (Long Range Electro-Optical Surveillance System), M428 IFF transponder, OPLS (Obstacle Proximity Lidar System), V/UHF radio systems cockpit panels and lighting.
The latest delivery introduces unique IFR, single pilot, Advanced Search and Rescue (SAR) Modes with dedicated FMS (Flight Management System) search patterns enabling the aircraft to automatically fly along a predefined search path, which reduces pilot’s workload on the search phase of a SAR mission. The AW169 is the only helicopter in its weight category that features Advanced SAR Modes.