AgustaWestland AW149 debuts at African Aerospace & Defence 2012


AgustaWestland is exhibiting a full scale mock-up of the AW149 multi-role military helicopter at the African Aerospace and Defence 2012 exhibition, running from 19 to 23 September, in an effort to promote the type to the African market.

Patrick Chabrat, Head of Regional Sales, AgustaWestland said that, “we are delighted to be showing the aircraft at this year’s African Aerospace and Defence exhibition for the first time. The AW149, due to its modern design, large cabin and exceptional performance brings to the market a very cost effective helicopter which we believe has good potential in a number of African markets.”

The AW149 is specifically designed as a military helicopter and is scheduled to achieve military qualification by mid-2013. The helicopter is being promoted for a broad variety of tasks, including troop transport, combat SAR, special forces operations, casualty evacuation, command and control, re-supply/external load lifting, SAR and humanitarian assistance.

The AW149 is powered by two 2 000 shp class GE CT7-2E1 turbines with FADEC giving it a cruise speed of 150 knots (278 km/h). The AW149’s 11.2 m3 (395 ft3) cabin is capable of seating up to 18 troops or 12 troops with two door gunners.

The glass cockpit features four large Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Displays (8 x 10 inches) with integral input keys and a track ball on the inter-seat console for rapid selection of functions. The dual channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and 4-axis digital AFCS further contribute to reduced pilot workload and increased situational awareness, according to AgustaWestland.

Although it bears a strong resemblance to the civil AW139, the AW149 is an all-new design and is around 20% larger than its stablemate. The helicopter can be provided with different levels of ballistic protection, as well as defensive aids systems. The damage tolerant and fail safe design of the AW149 also includes a transmission system with a proven 30 minute run-dry capability and complete redundancy of all vital systems. AgustaWestland also claims low detectability due to low radar cross section, IR and acoustic signatures in all phases of flight.

Regarding armament, the AW149 can carry two door gunners or rockets, gun pods and missiles on pylons, which can also accept external fuel tanks.

Four AW149 prototypes have accumulated more than 1 000 flight hours. Production could begin at the end of this year. AgustaWestland is viewing the AW149 as a replacement for the Puma, Mi-8 and UH-1 class of helicopters.