AugustaWestland has displayed the AW149 helicopter, the company’s candidate aircraft for the lucrative Turkish utility helicopter programme (TUHP) at this year’s Defence Systems & Equipment International event in London.

Turkey has acquisition plans for 109 helicopters, of which 69 will be for military use.

The AW149 helicopter is a medium utility helicopter with an 8.1t take-off weight that has evolved out of the AW139 design.

The TUHP 149 offers various cabin options with seating for 18 or palletised special equipment such as command and control packages. The AW149 has been also been designed with open systems architecture and features outrigger pylons for weapons capability.

Augusta plans to fly the key elements of the design on a hybrid aircraft based on an AW139 airframe later in 2009 while a full AW149 prototype is due for 2010.

The TUHP-149 is scheduled for roll-out in 2012 based on the outcome of the Turkish decision.

The TUHP competition launched in 2005 also has Sikorsky’s UH-60 Black Hawk as a contender.