Italian Army’s future Attack Helicopter AW249 Flies for the first time in combat livery.
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The Italian company has been working on the AW249 project since 2017, when the Italian Defence Ministry initiated the NEES program. The AW249 will replace the A129C/D Mangusta, which has been in service with the Italian Army since the 1990s. The ministry submitted a request for one prototype, three pre-production production helicopters, and the need for up to 48 operational helicopters.The AW249 helicopter is powered by a pair of GE Aviation CT7-8E6 (T700) turboshaft engines, each producing 2,500 hp (1,860kW), and also incorporates dynamic components from the AW149 transport helicopter to save on development costs.The AW249 has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) in the range of 7500 – 8000 kg (about twice that of the A129 MTOW). This helicopter can operate in hot, high and adverse weather conditions. Cruising speed at 260 km/h and flight endurance of three hours.The AW249 incorporates an open systems architecture to enable rapid upgrade and growth capabilities, communications, and a battlespace management system. In addition, due to the increasing need to cooperate with other platforms in network-centric operations, the AW249 will feature Manned-UnManned Teaming (MUM-T) capabilities.Helicopter interoperability and situational awareness will be driven by the C2 ( Command and Control ) and C4 ( Command, Control, Communications, and Computer ) systems.AW249 has twice the payload compared to AW129. Six gun hangers in the small wing can accommodate air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles, guided rockets and external fuel tanks, and a chin-mounted 20mm gun.The helicopter features self-protection devices such as the Elettronica ELT-162 Radar Warning Receiver, Elettronica ELT/577 Quiris Directed Infra-Red Counter Measure System (DIRCM), and Leonardo Multi Aperture InfraRed (MAIR) Missile Warning System (MWS).The helicopter deliveries will start in 2025.