Leonardo Helicopters secures Egypt’s €871 million AW149 and AW189 helicopter deal

Italian Leonardo Helicopters has reportedly netted a lucrative $958 million helicopter deal with Egypt, this is according to a May 2019 report by Italy’s Foreign Ministry.

Leonardo Helicopters initially refused to confirm or deny the deal when it was first signed last year during the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) expo. The contracts for the AW149 helicopters were not listed in Leonardo’s company financial records for 2019, noted Shephard Media.

This business which places Egypt in the top place last year in terms of defence export license values will see Leonardo selling 24 AW149 multirole helicopters and eight AW189 super medium class helicopters to Cairo at a cost of €871 million.

Before this signing, Cairo initially intended to purchase 20-30 NH90 helicopters to meet a shipboard helicopter requirement, however, the AW189 was chosen instead.

Leonardo Helicopters AW149 multirole helicopter

When delivered, the AW149 will perform land-based troop transport and search and rescue missions, re-supply/external load lift, medical and casualty evacuation, search and rescue, Special Forces operations, close air support/armed escort, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

According to Leonardo Helicopters, the AW149 was developed from the AW139, but with 40% more internal volume and more powerful engines – the aircraft is powered by two General Electric CT7-2E1 turboshafts each developing 2 000 shp. It can carry 12 fully equipped soldiers or 19 passengers on crashworthy seats. Weapons options are available, including gun pods, rocket pods and guided missiles.

The helicopter is Day/Night capable with a single pilot Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatible low workload glass cockpit.

Leonardo Helicopters AW189 helicopter

Leonardo Helicopters secures Egypt's €871 million AW149 and AW189 helicopter deal
Leonardo Helicopters AW189 helicopter

On the other hand, the AW189 helicopter is an 8.3/8.6 tonne super medium class helicopter usually utilized for VIP transportation.

The AW189 cockpit features an advanced, open-architecture avionics suite to minimize pilot workload, enhancing situational awareness. Its class accommodates up to 14 passengers, providing option for sliding or hinged doors. 

It is powered by 2 x General Electric CT7-2E1 and 1 x Safran e-APU (60 kW) or 2 x Safran Aneto-1K and 1 x Safran e-APU (60 kW) depending on customer’s preference.

Darek Liam

Darek Liam is the North African editor for AMB, where he writes about the intersection of Technology and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade, previously as African Union correspondent.

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