Sunday, October 30, 2011

DeadlyAgustaWestland AW129 Italian Combat Helicopter

Army and Weapons | DeadlyAgustaWestland AW129 Italian Combat Helicopter | The AW129 Multirole combat helicopter is the latest version of the A129 Mangusta (Mongoose) helicopter in service of the Italian army. It is manufactured by AgustaWestland, a joint venture originally formed by Finmeccanica of Italy and GKN in the UK, but now fully owned by Finmeccanica. The TAI / AgustaWestland T-129 ATAK is an improved version of the A129, and the development is now the responsibility of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), with AgustaWestland as the primary partner.

The International AW129 A129 was renamed in 2007. The AW129 is a multi-role helicopter for armed reconnaissance and security guards, a high land value the efforts of the destination, escort, fire support and air-threat suppression. He is armed with powerful new air-ground and air-air missiles, a gun off-axis and an important weapon payload. The five-bladed A129 International also has more powerful engines than the four-bladed Mangusta.
The Italian army has 60 A129 Mangusta helicopters and 15 AW129, known as A129 (combat configuration) CBT.

The Italian army began a need for a light observation helicopter and anti-tank format in 1972. West Germany had a similar need. The nations' demands have led to a joint project of the Italian company Agusta and West German firm MBB. However, the joint effort ended after preparatory work. Agusta A109 studied initially-based design, but moved to a new design. The company began design work on the A129 in 1978. The first A129 prototype took five of the type's first flight on September 11, 1983, the fifth and the first prototype flew in March 1986. Italy ordered 60 A129s.
In 1986, the governments of Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding for an improved version of the A129 to investigate the so-called Joint European Helicopter Tonal. ("Tonal" is derived from the name of an Aztec deity.) The Tonal was to more powerful engines, a new rotor system, retractable landing gear, improved sensors and weapons are more powerful. However, the project collapsed in 1990, when Britain and the Netherlands agreed to the AH-64 Apache instead to obtain. Spain has since acquired Eurocopter Tiger. An export version, the A129 International (A129I), is a cheaper helicopter with added firepower and improved avionics. In September 2007, the A129I redesignated the AW129.
The A129 can be used in anti-armor, armed reconnaissance, ground attack, escort, fire support and anti-aircraft roles. In the anti-armor role, the helicopter can carry either Hellfire, TOW, or Spike-ER missiles, or a mixture of them. The A129 can also be equipped with 81 mm or 70 mm (2.75 in) unguided rockets and a M197 three-barrel 20 mm cannon in a turret mounted under its nose. For the anti-aircraft Stinger or Mistral missiles role be performed.
The A129 is equipped with autonomous navigation and night vision systems for both day / night all weather combat to offer. In January 2002 AgustaWestland was awarded a contract for the first 45 to upgrade to the standard MFP. The upgrade includes: five-bladed main rotor and comprises two blade tail rotor, Rolls-Royce Gem 1004, the new stronger transmission with a torque of 1,700 shp, strengthened the fuselage so an increase in takeoff weight of 4,600 kg, improved weapons systems, Oto Melara 20mm including 197b nose mounted cannon and air-air Stinger missiles, new FLIR (Forward-Looking Infrared), improved countermeasures suite including EADS AN / AAR -60 missile launch detector and new global positioning / inertial navigation (GPS / INS) system. Deliveries completed in July 2008.
In the Australian Army 87 AIR project to Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters to acquire the Agusta A129, the AH-64 Apache and the Eurocopter Tiger, the shortlist of the six original tenders. In December 2001 it was announced that the contract was awarded to the Eurocopter Tiger.

The Italian Army received 60 A129s beginning in 1990, and is the only operator. In January 2002 AgustaWestland was awarded a contract for the first 45 A129A version upgrade to the A129 multi-role standard CBT. The first A129CBTs were in October 2002. The Italian army has 45 and 15 A129CBT A129A helicopters from 2007.

In Italian service, the Mangusta has been successfully deployed in UN missions to the Republic of Macedonia, Somalia and Angola. In Somalia, during the battle the name of "Checkpoint Pasta" (because it was near an abandoned factory pasta), an A129 started with a single TOW missile, a vehicle that Somali insurgents hit, killing several. It represents the 5th Regiment AVES "Rigel" (based on Casarsa della Delizia, Friuli) and 7 º AVES Rgt. "Vega" (based in Rimini), part of the Aero-Mobile Brigade "Friuli". Three helicopters were deployed in Iraq before withdrawal of the Italian expedition. Twelve Mangustas are currently deployed in Afghanistan.