DSEI 2023 | Leonardo showcases AW-149 armed with Hellfire missiles
Defence Redefined
Published on 13/09/2023 at 18:27

During the Defence and Security Exhibition International “DSEI 2023”, Italian Leonardo presented the armed version of the AW-149 helicopter. 

Participation in DSEI is part of a wider push by Leonardo to promote itself as “The Home of British Helicopters”, as it looks to secure the procurement for 36-44 new helicopters for the UK, which are to replace the Airbus SA 330E Puma HC2 and three other military types. 

With Yeovil the site of production for the AW159 Wildcat and AW101 Merlin military helicopters, Leonardo is hoping to add the AW149 to that portfolio. As such, it is now bidding for the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) military program against the US UH-60.

The helicopter is day/night capable with a single pilot Night Vision Goggle (NVG), while it features a low workload glass cockpit and spacious cabin. It is optimized for a multitude of battlefield missions such as troop and cargo transport, medical and casualty evacuation, Search and Rescue and Personnel Recovery, special forces operations, close air support/armed escort, Command and Control, and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.

AW-149 technical characteristics:

  • Maximum weight: 8,300 kg 
  • Engine: 2 engines either 2 x General Electric CT7-2E1 and 1 x Safran e-APU (60 kW) or  2 x Safran Aneto-1K and 1 x Safran e-APU (60 kW)
  • Length: 17.57 m 
  • Height: 5.07 m 
  • Rotor diameter: 14.60 m 
  • Transport capacity: 1-2 crew members and up to 19 personnel
  • Maximum cruise speed: 294 km/h 
  • Maximum range: 1,009 km 
  • Endurance: 5.05 hours

Also read: AW-139 | Search and Rescue 24/7/365 for Cyprus – Interview with Leonardo’s representative at DEFEA 2023

In the summer of 2022, Poland proceeded to procure 32 AW-149s for €1.75 billion, deliveries of which are expected to begin within 2023. The Polish AW-149s will be equipped with machine guns, guided rockets, and anti-tank missiles. 

To that end, Poland announced that it has proceeded with the procurement of 800 AGM-114R2 Hellfire anti-tank missiles at a cost of $150 million, while deliveries are set to begin this year and conclude in 2029.

Future purchases of additional missile batches are expected, in line with the declaration to equip Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and GAASI MQ-9B Reaper Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles.

Also read: Merlin “Crowsnest” | The British Royal Navy Airborne Radar System – Videos and Photos




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