The AW149 is a 7t to 8t class multirole helicopter for military and paramilitary applications. The helicopter has a maximum cruise speed of 278km/h (150k) and a hover altitude ceiling of more than 6,000ft at maximum all up weight. The AW149 can carry up to 18 troops and has a range in excess of 920km. Heavy-duty retractable wheeled landing gear allows the aircraft to both ground taxi and operate from rough terrain.
AgustaWestland (now Leonardo Helicopter Division) announced the launch of the AW149 multirole helicopter in June 2006 at the Farnborough Air Show. The design fits between the 6.4t AW139, and the 10.6t NH90 in the Leonardo’ product range.
The AW149 has a five-bladed main rotor of diameter 14m and a four-bladed tail rotor. The rotors are ballistic tolerant. The first flight was completed in November 2009 and the second prototype completed its maiden flight in February 2011.
The helicopter made its first public appearance at the Paris Air Show in June 2011. The AW149 was awarded the military certification by the Italian Directorate of Air Armaments (ARMAEREO) in July 2014.
AW149 multirole helicopter missions
In the battlefield support role, the AW149 provides unobstructed cabin space (3m-long, 2.26m-wide and 1.45m-high) plus a baggage compartment, and can accommodate 18 troops or 12 fully equipped soldiers. The 2,720kg rated external cargo hook allows heavy equipment to be transported to and from the battlefield.
In the combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) role, the helicopter is crewed by two pilots and two or four crew members. A rescue hoist and other CSAR mission equipment and armaments are fitted.
The helicopter can be equipped for other missions such as medical evacuation and command and control. In the medical evacuation role, the cabin accommodates two to six stretchers, four attendants and in-flight medical equipment. For command and control missions, the AB149 is equipped with a suite of command, control and communications (C3) systems with two workstations.
Outrigger pylons can carry seven, 12 or 19-tube 70mm and 81mm rocket launchers, air-to-air missiles, and air-to-ground missiles.
The helicopter can be fitted with a 20mm machine gun pod or a 12.7mm machine gun pod with three tubes for 70mm rockets.
The cabin can be fitted with window-mounted 7.62mm general-purpose machine guns. The helicopter is equipped with defensive aids subsystems.
The cockpit accommodates the pilot and co-pilot, is night-vision compatible and is fitted with dual controls. The cockpit has crew doors on both sides.
The avionics suite includes a military standard 1553B databus, a four-axis autopilot, and a health and usage monitoring system (HUMS). The instrumentation systems include forward-looking infrared (FLIR) imaging system, night-vision goggle compatible lighting and four 6in × 8in colour active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCD). A weather radar can be installed in the chin pod. The helicopter is also equipped with an emergency locator and a personal locator system.
The cabin and the cockpit are air-conditioned. The cabin is 25% larger than that of the AW139 and can accommodate up to 16 troops with light equipment or 12 fully equipped troops. The cabin is fitted with a large sliding door on each side for fast embarking and disembarking. The helicopter can be fitted with a 272kg electric rescue hoist with a utility hoist light on the starboard side for rescue operations.
The main cabin bubble windows give good visibility.
Systems and equipment
The helicopter is equipped with a cargo hook kit rated at 2,720kg (6,000lb). It is also fitted with a fast roping kit for fast insertion of troops where it is unsafe or inappropriate for the helicopter to land and take-off.
The AW149 helicopter is powered by two General Electric CT7-2E1 turboshaft engines of 1,477kW (1,980hp) each giving the aircraft exceptionally good hot and high performance. The engines are fitted with an air particle separator. A closed circuit refuelling system allows rapid refuelling.
Safety systems include anti-icing and de-icing systems, an emergency flotation system and wire strike protection.