Slovenia is to acquire six Leonardo Helicopters AW139M intermediate-twins through a government-to-government agreement with Italy.

Ljubljana disclosed the sales pact, valued at €188 million ($206 million), on 28 November following a meeting between defence minister Marjan Sarec and his Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto.

AW139M-c-Leonardo Helicopters

Source: Leonardo Helicopters

Italian air force operates large fleet of AW139Ms

Part of a recapitalisation plan for the Slovenian armed forces, the new helicopters were selected following a thorough analysis and a capability demonstration, the defence ministry says.

In addition, the government-to-government route was chosen as it is a “more economically efficient way… compared to purchasing directly from the helicopter manufacturer”.

The defence ministry also highlights that the deal opens the “possibility of long-term co-operation with the Italian government and of ensuring interoperability in joint NATO projects and EU co-operation programmes”.

A delivery timeline for the AW139Ms will be agreed in early 2024. Slovenia says it will use the Italian-built helicopters for a variety of missions, including troop transport, medevac, search and rescue, and firefighting.

Italy has a substantial fleet of AW139Ms, with its air force operating 32 examples.

Ljubljana and Rome on 17 November signed a bilateral co-operation pact which was shortly followed by an order from the former for a second Leonardo C-27J tactical transport.