North Macedonia Buys Eight New Helicopters From Leonardo

Aerospace giant Leonardo has signed an agreement to provide four AW149 and four AW169M helicopters for the Army of North Macedonia.

The country’s defense ministry said seven of the helicopters will be used for transport, firefighting, and rescue missions, while one will be specially equipped as a medical vehicle.

The contract covers the fleet’s logistics support package, including mission-specific capabilities, spare parts and consumables, and test equipment and training for flight and technical personnel.

Defense Minister Slavjanka Petrovska stated the purchase is part of Skopje’s conscious push for a more modern armed force.

“With the purchase of the new helicopters, there will be a significant modernization of the aviation component and an increase in the capabilities to perform missions both for the needs of the Army and for the support of other civil institutions of our country,” she said.

She added that the purchase was recommended by the country’s Integrated Project Team, a group made up of experts from the ministry and the army, which selected the models among other potential candidates after holding various demonstration flights.

The helicopters are expected to arrive from the second half of 2026 to the end of 2028.

A Newer North Macedonia

Petrovska revealed in 2023 that the decision to bolster North Macedonia’s armed forces via modernization was made as early as 2018, when the ministry began strategizing on what segments of the army needed the most transformation.

The country’s current defense budget is 1.85 percent of its gross domestic product, a third of which is intended for modernization and equipment.

Its more recent military purchases include a $118-million deal with the US for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, which supplements an earlier contract for 71 units worth $79 million.

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