Rome - Leonardo announced that the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) has purchased an AgustaWestland AW169 light intermediate helicopter, with delivery scheduled for early 2019. The helicopter will be provided with a dedicated configuration to support Chinese polar scientific exploration tasks and will be used for passenger transport, iceberg sighting and cargo sling operations. The contract was signed as part of the program for the acquisition of the new icebreaker for the Polar Research Institute, which can carry helicopters on board. The AW169, as stated in a note, will be carrying out missions from the new naval unit and close to the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Polar Stations. The AW169 was chosen due to its outstanding performance in harsh environmental conditions and cutting-edge technology including, among other things, touch-screen displays, the ability to maintain the main on-board equipment (including an air conditioning system) in operation when on the ground and with the rotors stationary to ensure maximum safety and reduce consumption and emissions ('APU mode'), and an advanced rotor with high efficiency and low noise impact. This latest order marks a further success in the global market for this type of helicopter, providing further evidence of its design versatility. Leonardo's presence in China grows stronger, with almost 200 helicopters already sold to Chinese customers for commercial and public services. To meet the needs arising from the growing helicopter fleet, support and maintenance services have also been increased, including the recent opening of a major spare parts warehouse facility in Shanghai.