In December 2022, the first "Leonardo AW169" helicopter was handed over to the Air Force. Yesterday the third "Lion" landed in Austria. Another three helicopters are expected by the end of the year. In December of last year, Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner signed an option to purchase a total of 36 helicopters and these will be delivered by 2028.
“The modernization of the air force has picked up speed. With the new 'Lion' helicopters, the performance of our air force will be further improved and with it the protection and safety of the population. Buying a total of 36 helicopters was definitely the right choice, because the various configurations can cover a wide range of tasks,” said Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner.
The "Leonardo" multi-purpose helicopter is particularly powerful and therefore also ideal for operations in the mountains. It can also fly at night or in bad weather conditions. Its uses range from troop transport, disaster relief and emergency response, to firefighting, mountain rescue and medical evacuation flights, to airborne protection in the armed version.
In addition to the flow of helicopters, investments are being made in new infrastructure and staff training. While the retraining for pilots takes about ten weeks, it takes about six weeks for technical staff, of which three weeks are theoretical and three weeks are practical training.
The "Leonardo AW169" is a 5-ton class helicopter powered by two engines, each with a continuous output of 826 kW. It reaches a top speed of 270 km/h and can fly over 800 km. The maximum flight duration is up to 4:20 hours. The payload of the helicopter is up to two tons and up to 12 people can be transported. 24 machines are stationed as training or mission helicopters in Langenlebarn and 12 mission helicopters in Aigen/Ennstal.