AW109

AW109

The AgustaWestland AW109, originally the Agusta A109 is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter built by the Italian manufacturer Leonardo S.p.A. (formerly AgustaWestland, merged into the new Finmeccanica since 2016). It was the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced.

AW109 Power can be configured for a range of missions, including search and rescue, law enforcement, air ambulance, coast guard, border patrol, surveillance, passenger transport, advanced training, and emergency medical services.

AW109 Power orders and deliveries

“AW109 Power can be configured for a range of missions, including search and rescue, law enforcement, air ambulance, coast guard, border patrol and surveillance.”

AgustaWestland won a contract worth P3.4bn ($77m) through a public bidding for the supply of eight AW109 helicopters to the Philippine Air Force in November 2013. The first two helicopters were delivered in December 2014.

The Philippine Navy signed a contract with AgustaWestland for three AW109 Power maritime helicopters with an option for an additional two in March 2013. The helicopters are configured for maritime security, search and rescue, surface surveillance and economic zone protection. A contract for an additional two helicopters was signed in February 2014.

The Mauritanian Air Force placed an order for an undisclosed number of AW109 Power helicopters for reconnaissance and border patrol missions in June 2013.

Design and features of AW109 light helicopter

AW109 Power features an airframe made of lightweight aluminium alloys. It is fitted with four blade main rotor and long tail boom with two blade tail rotor. Tricycle landing gear with energy absorbing struts allows safe landing on rough terrains.

The helicopter has a length of 13.4m, a width of 7.8m and a maximum height of 3.5m. The main and tail rotor diameters are 11m and 1.94m respectively.

The helicopter is operated by one or two pilots and accommodates up to seven passengers. The cockpit is fitted with pilot / co-pilot doors and windows with sliders. The cabin has two large sliding doors and double-layer acrylic windows.

With a volume of 3.5m³, the wide cabin can be easily configured to meet various mission equipment. The spacious baggage compartment can be extended up to 2.3m to house mission-specific loads.

The interior is installed with soundproofing, bleed air heater and air conditioning to facilitate comfortable seating for occupants.

AW109 Power can be optionally fitted with a rescue hoist, cargo hook, engine air particle separator, external loudspeakers, pulsed chip detectors, rappelling hooks, retractable light, and Bambi bucket.

Cockpit and avionics

The digital, glass and NVG-compatible cockpit is equipped with six liquid crystal instrument displays to provide the aircrew with navigational and flight information, as well as enhanced situational awareness both during the day and at night.

Avionics include three-axis duplex automatic flight control system (AFCS), radar altimeter, weather radar, global positioning system (GPS), moving map, instrument flight rules (IFR), navigation and communication systems, gyrocompass and transponder.

It also includes tactical radios, forward looking infrared radar (FLIR) / low-light television (LLTV) camera, automatic direction finder (ADF), stormscope, emergency locator transmitter (ELT), and cockpit voice and flight data recorder.

Armament

The AW109 Power attack version is armed with .50 calibre machine guns and unguided rockets for close air support and surveillance operations.

Survivability features

The light helicopter‘s safety features include emergency flotation, dual hydraulic boost and wire strike protection systems, snow skis kit / slump protection pads kit, fire extinguishers, a fully separated fuel system, reinforced windshield, rotor brake, and dual electrical systems.

Redundant lubrication and cooling systems are provided for main transmission and engines. Vibration dampers are also fitted to minimise vibration levels.

Engine and performance of AW109 Power helicopter

The AW109 Power helicopter is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206C engines, controlled by full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system, or two Turbomeca Arrius 2K1 engines.

PW206C has a take-off power of 477kW, whereas the Arrius 2K1 has a take-off power of 500kW.

The helicopter has a maximum take-off weight of 3,000kg and is equipped with 605l three-cell, 699l four-cell and 835l five-cell fuel systems. It has a maximum cruise speed of 285km/h, a never exceed speed of 311km/h and a rate of climb of 9.8m/s. It can reach a service ceiling of 5,974m with one engine inoperative. The IGE and OGE hover ceilings are 5,059m and 3,596m respectively.

Variants

  • A109A: The first production model, powered by two Allison Model 250-C20 turboshaft engines. It made its first flight on 4 August 1971. Initially, the A109 was marketed under the name of “Hirundo” (Latin for the swallow), but this was dropped within a few years.
  • A109A EOA: Military version for the Italian Army.
  • A109A Mk.II: Upgraded civilian version of the A109A.
  • A109A Mk.II MAX: Aeromedical evacuation version based on A109A Mk.II with extra wide cabin and access doors hinged top and bottom, rather than to one side.
  • A109B: Unbuilt military version.
  • A109BA: Version created for the Belgian Army. Based on the A109C with fixed landing gear.
  • A109C: Eight-seat civil version, powered by two Allison Model 250-C20R-1 turboshaft engines.
  • A109C MAX: Aeromedical evacuation version based on A109C with extra-wide cabin and access doors hinged top and bottom, rather than to one side.
  • A109D: One prototype only
  • A109E Power: Upgraded civilian version, initially powered by two Turbomeca Arrius 2K1 engines. Later the manufacturer introduced an option for two Pratt & Whitney PW206C engines to be used – both versions remain known as the A109E. Marketed as the AW109E and Power.
  • A109E Power Elite: A stretched cabin version of A109E Power. Features a glass cockpit with two complete sets of pilot instruments and navigation systems, including a three-axis autopilot, an auto-coupled Instrument Landing System and GPS.
  • A109LUH: Military LUH “Light Utility Helicopter” variant based on the A109E Power. Operators include South African Air Force, Swedish Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Nigerian Air Force, as well as Algeria and Malaysia. Known as the Hkp15A (utility variant) and 15B (ship-borne search and rescue variant) with the Swedish Air Force.
  • MH-68A: Eight A109E Power aircraft were used by the United States Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron Jacksonville (HITRON Jacksonville) as short-range armed interdiction helicopters from 2000 until 2008, when they were replaced with MH-65C Dolphins. Agusta designated these armed interdiction aircraft as “Mako” until the U.S. Coast Guard officially named it the MH-68A Stingray in 2003.
  • A109K: Military version.
  • A109K2: High-altitude and high-temperature operations with fixed wheels rather than the retractable wheels of most A109 variants. Typically used by police, search and rescue, and air ambulance operators.
  • A109M: Military version.
  • A109 km: Military version for high altitude and high temperature operations.
  • A109KN: Naval version.
  • A109CM: Standard military version.
  • A109GdiF: Version for Guardia di Finanza, the Italian Finance Guard.
  • A109S Grand: Marketed as the AW109 Grand, it is a lengthened cabin-upgraded civilian version with two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207 engines and lengthened main rotor blades with different tip design from the Power version.
  • AW109SP
  • AW109 GrandNew: single pilot IFR, TAWS and EVS, especially for EMS.
  • AW109 Trekker: A variant of the AW109S Grand with fixed landing skids.
  • CA109: Chinese direct copy of the AW109E for China mainland market by Jiangxi Changhe Agusta Helicopter Co., Ltd., a Leonardo Helicopter Division(formerly AgustaWestland) and Changhe Aviation Industries Joint Venture Company established in 2005.

Specifications

Crew 1 or 2
Capacity 6 or 7 passengers
Length
11.448 m (37 ft 7 in) fuselage
Height 3.50 m (11 ft 6 in)
Main rotor diameter 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)
Loaded weight
Maximum weight 2,850 kg (6,283 lb)
Empty weight 1,590 kg (3,505 lb)
Maximum speed (Vne) 311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn)
Cruising speed at sea level 285 km/h (177 mph, 154 kn)
Ascent speed at sea level 9.8 m/s (1,930 ft/min)
Ceiling in service
Passable distance at sea level with standard reserve 932 km (579 mi, 503 nmi)
Powerplant 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206C Turboshaft engine, 418 kW (560 hp) each

Operators

  • Algeria
  • Albanian Air Force
  • Bangladesh Navy
  • Belgian Air Component
  • Hellenic Air Force
  • Italian Army – In 2020 15 AW109 in service, being replaced by AW-169M,
  • Malaysian Army
  • Mexican Air Force
  • Royal New Zealand Air Force
  • Nigeria
    • Nigerian Air Force
    • Nigerian Navy
  • Peruvian Army
  • Philippines
    • Philippine Air Force
    • Philippine Navy
  • South African Air Force
  • Swedish Armed Forces
  • Turkmen Air Force
  • UK Royal Air Force – 1 AW109SP
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