Italian Army’s future Attack Helicopter AW249 Flies for the first time in combat livery.
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.