Prototype Of AW249 Attack Helicopter In Combat Livery Flies For The First time



The prototype of the AW249 throughout its first flight on Mar. 19, 2023. (Reader’s submission)

One other AW249 NEES has flown. This one sports activities the usual olive drab paint scheme utilized by the Italian Military helicopters.

A brand new Leonardo AW249 NEES (Nuovo Elicottero da Esplorazione e Scorta / New Exploration and Escort Helicopter), has carried out its first flight from the Leonardo Helicopters plant in Vergiate, on Mar. 19, 2023. Not like the prototype that carried out the sort’s maiden flight in August 2022 (in its primer paint and the experimental serial CSX82069), this one, CSX82097, s/n 24001, is the primary AW249 to sport a fight livery: the identical olive drab colour used on the Italian Military (in addition to US Military) helicopters. No different insignia or marking has been utilized to the plane.

Externally, no different variations may be seen from the earlier airframe, with the pink strains used for the pressure sensors on the fuselage and tail increase throughout the flight.

One other picture of the second AW249 (truly, the primary prototype primarily based on the s/n) throughout its first flight on Mar. 19, 2023. (Reader’s submission)

Right here’s what we wrote in regards to the new helicopter in a earlier put up right here at The Aviationist:

“The helicopter will replace the AW129 Mangusta, which has been in service with the Italian Military because the Nineties and upgraded all through the years till the present AH-129D variant. Many are contemplating the AW249 as a copy of the AH-64 Apache, nonetheless the 2 helicopters have little or no in widespread, in addition to the tandem cockpit configuration. The AW249 is, the truth is, a totally totally different helicopter than its predecessor, the AW129, which was initially designed within the late Seventies as A129 and first flew in 1983: whereas it leverages the teachings realized with the Mangusta, it incorporates a new airframe, transmission, engines and avionics By the best way, the tandem cockpit configuration doesn’t even date again to the Apache, but to the AH-1 Cobra.”

“Leonardo has been engaged on the venture since 2017, when the Italian Ministry of Defence initiated the NEES program, which incorporates one prototype, three pre-serial manufacturing helicopters and a necessity for as much as 48 operational helicopters. Whereas at Farnborough air present, Stefano Villanti, senior vice-president of gross sales at Leonardo Helicopters, mentioned development of the AW249 has been “progressing like clockwork” in opposition to the Italian Military’s timeline. The Military plans to retire the AH-129 from 2025.”

“The helicopter is powered by a pair of GE Aviation CT7-8E6 (T700) turboshaft engines, rated at 2,500hp (1,860kW) every and in addition consists of dynamic components from the AW149 transport helicopter. The AW249 has been designed with a most take-off weight (MTOW) throughout the vary of seven,500 – 8,000 kg (in regards to the double of the AW129’s MTOW), with the flexibility to function in each hot-and-high and chilly climate situations, with a cruising velocity of 140kts and a three-hour endurance. The helicopter has been designed additionally with ship-borne operations in thoughts.”

Shut up. (Reader’s submission)

In the meanwhile, two prototypes have damaged cowl. They’re anticipated to fly collectively as a part of the testing marketing campaign geared toward step by step increasing the helicopter’s flight envelope.

Though not formally confirmed, the AW249 must be generally known as “Fenice” (Italian for Phoenix) as revealed by Normal Andrea Di Stasio, Commander of the Italian Military Aviation.

One other picture of the AW249 (Picture credit score: Oscar Bernardi)

David Cenciotti is a journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and lots of others, protecting aviation, protection, struggle, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Power, a personal pilot and a graduate in Pc Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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