North Macedonia selects Leonardo’s helicopters for its armed forces

By Defence Industry Europe

The Ministry of Defence of North Macedonia has announced its decision to acquire helicopters from the Italian company Leonardo. This decision is part of the country's broader program to upgrade its armed forces.


The ministry’s statement revealed that North Macedonia is set to purchase eight multi-purpose helicopters from this renowned manufacturer. The deal reportedly includes four AW169 and four AW149 helicopters. Currently, the project has moved to the stage of forming a team responsible for conducting the necessary technical negotiations and finalizing the contract.

With this acquisition, North Macedonia is poised to become the second NATO member to use the AW149 helicopters, following Poland, which has previously ordered 32 units.



Leonardo’s bid was chosen over three other European and American contenders, including the H145M and H222M offered by Airbus and the Bell 412M and Lockheed Martin S-70 Black Hawk. The selection was based on various factors, including the helicopters’ overall capabilities, pricing, and their logistics and maintenance systems.

This development marks a significant shift for the North Macedonian military aviation, which currently operates Mil Mi-24, Mil Mi-17, and Bell 206 helicopters. Part of the existing fleet is set to be donated to Ukraine as a contribution to the ongoing military assistance program.



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