Leonardo’s AW169 is getting a pair of new options that will increase its operational flexibility. The manufacturer is developing an increased gross weight (IGW) kit and adding an 11-seat configuration to the light intermediate twin engine helicopter. Both options will be available for AW169s equipped with skid landing gear in place of wheeled landing gear.
The IGW kit allows a maximum gross weight of 11,243 pounds (5,100 kg) kit for the AW169 skid version. Compared with the standard 10,582 pound (4,800 kg) maximum take-off weight, the extra 661 pounds (300 kg) allows the helicopter to carry three more passengers or additional fuel that can extend endurance for up to one hour. Current operators skidded AW169s will be able to retrofit the IGW kit to their aircraft.
The 11-seat configuration, available as an additional option on aircraft equipped with the IGW kit, is fully compliant with the IOGP Report 690 (Offshore Helicopter Recommended Practices). This configuration includes a new modular fuel tank system and two more Type IV emergency exits in the cabin, giving the AW169 a total of six exits. This option will primarily interest operators in the offshore energy industry.
Leonardo says the once equipped with these options, a skidded AW169 will have a radius of action of up to 75 nautical miles with 11 passengers, giving operators a payload/range capability typically associated with intermediate twins like the company’s own AW139 while still offering the operating economics of a light intermediate helicopter.
Leonardo expects the IGW upgrade to receive European certification in 2024, and the 11-seat configuration with new modular fuel tank in 2026.