22-Jun-2011 Source: AgustaWestland
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the AW149 military medium twin helicopter is making its first ever public appearance at the Paris Air Show this week. Previously shown in mock-up form at the 2009 Paris Air Show, two years later the second AW149 prototype â€œP2â€ is on show having performed its maiden flight at AgustaWestlandâ€™s Vergiate plant in Italy on 26th February 2011. Bruno Spagnolini, CEO, AgustaWestland, commented â€œThe development of the AW149 military helicopter demonstrates our commitment to bring to the market a new generation multi-role military helicopter in the medium lift category. The AW149 is the only all new aircraft in this class and is ideally suited to replace thousands of older and ageing helicopters over the next 30 years.â€ He went on to say â€œTwo years ago when we showed the AW149 mock-up at the Paris Air Show for the first time it generated a lot of interest from potential customers. Two years on we are delighted to have the real aircraft here to show the many visiting delegations.â€
Prototypes P1 and P2 have together completed over 170 test flights totalling more than 250 flight hours to date. A third prototype, P3, is now undergoing final assembly and will enter the flight test programme later this year. The AW149 programme is on schedule to achieve certification in 2014 with deliveries following soon after. The second AW149 prototype is fully representative of the AW149 final configuration and is powered by two 2,000 shp (1,500 kW) class GE CT7-2E1 turboshaft engines with FADEC driving a new transmission and rotor system developed for the AW149. The second prototype is being used for envelope expansion and will perform a range of tests including hot & high and cold weather trials.
With a fully digital avionics system with open architecture and fully integrated mission equipment, a modern NVG compatible glass cockpit and a 4-axis auto-pilot, the AW149 8-tonne class helicopter has been specifically designed for modern battlefield operations. For true all weather operations a rotor ice protection system will be available as a customer option. The AW149, due to its open architecture design, will be capable of being fitted with a wide range of role equipment and mission avionics as required by the customer. The AW149, capable of seating up to 18 troops in its 11.6 m3 (409 ft3) cabin, is perfectly suited to perform a wide range of duties such as troop transport, battlefield and logistic operations, fire support, SAR and combat SAR, special forces operations, reconnaissance, surveillance, CASEVAC, command control & communication, external load lifting as well as VIP military transport. The AW149 is also being developed to meet the Italian Air Force requirement for a new medium class SAR helicopter.