AW169s for the Dominican Republic
In the past few months, both the air force and army of the Dominican Republic have received new helicopters. Six former US government operated Bell UH-1H Super Huey II have been delivered to the air force (Fuerza Aérea de República Dominicana, FARD) in December 2022, and in January 2023 and in February 2023, when and two former US Army Bell TH-67A Creeks were delivered to the Dominican Army.
More news about possible helicopter purchases by the Dominican government for the armed forces has been expected, and rumours included the delivery of more Bell-Textron products.
Hence, it came somewhat as a surprise, when the government announced a Declaration of Intent for cooperation in Defense, Security and Crisis Management with the United Kingdom on 16 March 2023.
In a first phase the agreement includes the delivery of four Leonardo (Agusta-Westland) AW169 helicopters to enhance the capabilities of the Dominican armed forces in the security and protection against disasters. The commander of the FARD had already mentioned the purchase of two-turbine helicopters late 2022, but did not elaborate about the type.
Obviously, the purchase includes a major leap in technology compared to the current helicopters in use by the FARD, which are mainly based on former US Bell UH-1H Hueys and former Canadian Bell OH-58 Kiowas, be it in a variety of modernized versions.
Photo: AW169 illustrative (Wim Sonneveld)