Leonardo has delivered an AW169 basic training twin-engine helicopter to the Italian Army at the 2nd Army Aviation Regiment ‘Sirio’ in Lamezia Terme, Italy.

The new generation aircraft is the first of two units destined for the army.

Delivery of the second aircraft is expected to take place in the coming months.

Designated as UH-169B, the new trainer will allow the crews of the Italian Army to prepare and familiarise with the basics as they move to the multirole light utility helicopter (LUH) platform.

The new LUH programme is based on the AW169 dual-use baseline. It will replace the A109, AB206, AB205, AB212 and AB412.

Leonardo Helicopters managing director Gian Piero Cutillo said: “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate with the Italian Army the delivery of its first AW169 in basic training configuration as an essential enabler ahead of the implementation of the new, broader LUH programme.

“The LUH will definitely represent the start of a new era in terms of capabilities, technical support, mission flexibility and interoperability in the lightweight segment.”

Specifically developed for the Italian Army, the AW169 LUH will provide logistical, operational and technical, certification and training commonalities.

For interoperability with other Nato countries, the programme is based on an advanced multirole configuration providing mission equipment including skids landing gear and command, control and communication system.

Along with the helicopters, the company will supply logistical support and a maintenance technician training package.

Cutillo added: “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.

“We’re committed to supporting the Italian Army to maximise the benefits of these new helicopters.”