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The Austrian Armed Forces (the Bundesheer) is replacing its Alouette III helicopter fleet. It will procure 18 AW169M helicopters in cooperation with Italy. The EUR300 million (USD353.9 million) procurement also includes technology, logistics, training, and infrastructure.
The Armed Forces said the determining factor in choosing the AW169M was the willingness of Italy to cooperate in all aspects of operating the helicopter. Italy has already ordered 40 of the up to 100 AW169s that it plans to procure.
Cooperation in operations, training, and logistics would not have been possible with the Bell 429 offered by the US as its armed forces do not operate the type, the Bundesheer explained, according to janes.com.
The AW169M will replace Austria’s Alouette III helicopters that will be phased out by the end of 2023, which the Bundesheer said would have resulted in a capability gap of several years if it had selected the H145M, which it expected not to be available until 2025 and to be conducting normal flight operations at least a year later.
In addition, Germany planned to offer the logistic support of its own industry, complicating co-operation or even making it impossible.
The delivery of the first helicopter is scheduled to mid-2022, the Bundesheer said.