25-Feb-2016 Source: Finmeccanica
Finmeccanica and the Italian Air Force celebrated today the entry into operational service of their first AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter, designated the HH-101A “CAESAR”, during an official ceremony at Cervia Air Base. A total of four HH-101A “CAESAR” helicopters, out of a total requirement of 15, have been delivered from the Finmeccanica Helicopter Division’s assembly line in Yeovil (UK) to date, and will be used to perform personnel recovery and special forces missions. The HH-101As will also support search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and slow mover intercept operations, countering small aircraft threats, to provide effective support to the Italian community.
With the HH-101A “CAESAR” the Italian Air Force is introducing into service the most advanced and capable aircraft available today for this demanding operational requirement, developed and tailored to meet specific customer needs in the framework of its helicopter fleet modernisation programme. With the first HH-101A “CAESAR” now fully operational, the Italian Air Force is entering a new era, with a quantum leap forward in capabilities for both homeland operations and missions abroad in demanding conditions.
The HH-101A is able to accommodate up to five crew members plus twenty fully equipped troops or six crew members plus 8 troops for special operations, ensuring maximum mission flexibility. The helicopters also feature three M134 7.62 mm pintle mounted Gatling-type machine guns installed on right and left sides and on the rear ramp provided by Finmeccanica Defence Systems Division, armoured cockpit seats, ballistic protection for machine gun operators as well as for critical systems and an Integrated Electronic Warfare System. Through its Airborne & Space Systems Divisions, Finmeccanica has supplied a number of sensors, communication and self-protection systems including radios, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), crypto, Link 16, intercommunications system, Gabbiano radar system, Laser Warning Receiver (LWR) and a Missile Launch Detection System (MILDS). The HH-101A also features an air-to-air refuelling kit for extended range operations.
The AW101 is the most modern and advanced medium lift helicopter available today and is in service, in production and in demand for its proven performance, successfully demonstrated in a number of operational environments from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The AW101 offers long-range, large capacity and advanced technology, all combined in a cost-effective, multi-mission aircraft opening up a new era in rotary wing operations.
Depending on configuration, up to 30 troop seats or 12 stretchers can be hosted on board. Over 220 AW101 helicopters have been ordered so far by customers worldwide to perform a large number of roles including Personnel Recovery, Special Forces Operations, SAR, Combat SAR, utility, troop transport, Anti-Surface Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Airborne Early Warning, airborne mine countermeasures and Heads of State/Government transport.
Italy, UK, Japan, Canada, Portugal, Denmark and Norway are among the nations which have chosen the AW101. Finmeccanica Helicopter Division delivers a comprehensive range of tailored support, training and mission planning solutions to meet AW101 customer requirements whatever their mission.