AW129 Multi-Role Combat Helicopter, Italy

The AW129 multirole combat helicopter is the latest variant of the A129 Mangusta (Mongoose) helicopter in service with the Italian Army. It is manufactured by AgustaWestland, a joint venture company, which was originally formed by Finmeccanica of Italy and GKN of the UK, but is now solely owned by Finmeccanica.

The A129 International was renamed AW129 in 2007. The AW129 is a multirole helicopter for armed reconnaissance and surveillance, high-value ground-target engagement, escort, fire support and air-threat suppression. It is armed with powerful air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles, an off-axis cannon and an increased weapon payload. The five-bladed A129 International also has more powerful engines than the four-bladed Mangusta.


The AW129 is able to self-deploy over 1,000km, using external fuel tanks while carrying four air-to-air missiles for self-protection. The helicopter is air transportable by C-130 and larger transport aircraft.

A129 Mangusta helicopter upgrade

The Italian Army is equipped with 60 A129 Mangusta helicopters and 15 AW129, referred to as A129 CBT (combat configuration).

In January 2002, AgustaWestland was awarded a contract to upgrade the first 45 to the multirole standard.


The upgrade included: five-blade composite main rotor and two-blade tail rotor, Rolls-Royce Gem 1004 engines, new stronger transmission with a torque of 1,700shp, strengthened fuselage giving an increase in take-off weight to 4,600kg, improved weapons systems including Oto Melara 197B 20mm nose-mounted cannon and the Stinger air-to-air missiles, new FLIR (forward-looking infrared) system, improved countermeasures suite including EADS AN / AAR-60 missile launch detector and new global positioning / inertial navigation (GPS / INS) system. Deliveries concluded in July 2008.

EADS AN / AAR-60 missile launch detector

EADS’s AN/AAR-60 MILDS (Missile Launch Detection System)

Main features:

• Fully autonomous system from detection to protection
• Small number of compact, light-weight units allowing easy installation in helicopters as well as wide-body aircraft
• No emissions from the sensors (stealth)
• No cooling, short activation time
• No interference from IR light and laser
• Multi-threat handling – up to 8 simultaneous threats
• Low device weight and low power consumption
• Standalone configuration – no interfaces required to (external) mission or avionic systems
• Short installation and integration time
• Very wide installation base


The Mangusta were successfully deployed with UN operations in Somalia, Angola and Kosovo. Italian Army A129 helicopters have been deployed in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and were deployed to Afghanistan in summer 2007, as part of the Nato International Security Force.

Italian new generation assault helicopter AH-249 (ANALYSIS): Here


At the Combat Helicopters 2017 conference in Cracow, a representative of the Italian armed forces presented the concept of development of the AH-249A helicopter, which is expected to start replacing the AH-129D (AW129) Mangusta. The machine is developed by Leonardo Helicopters. In the new design, the AW149 propulsion system, which was offered in Poland in the multi-tasking helicopter program based on a common platform, will be used to accelerate the work. 

Italy presses ahead with AW129 attack helicopter replacement

Italy has begun the process of replacing its army’s fleet of AW129 attack helicopters, signing a multi-year, €487 million ($515 million) contract with Leonardo, which will see the nation’s aerospace champion develop a successor aircraft.

However, defence ministry documents indicate that the new design will use a number of parts from in-production helicopters, including weapons and dynamic components.

The AW129s have been in service since 1990, and Rome believes the age and condition of its Mangusta fleet means the aircraft are no longer suited to the increasing demands placed on them, according to contract documents.

Its replacement – which it calls the new exploration and escort helicopter – will offer more performance than the AW129 in areas such as survivability, offensive capability, digital communications and autonomy.

However, the defence ministry also stipulates the use of already mature technologies, including the TM197B 20mm chin gun, Rafael Spike missile and Toplite targeting system from the AW129, as well as the transmission and main and tail rotors from the AW149 troop transport.

Running until 2025, the development contract covers the design, manufacture and qualification of five aircraft: one prototype, three pre-serial examples, and a first production helicopter in the initial operational capability (IOC) configuration.In addition, it calls for the subsequent raising of the three pre-serial rotorcraft to the IOC standard.

Rome sees an eventual requirement for 48 helicopters, replacing the 59 AW129s currently in service, which it plans to retire from 2025.

No details on the timeframe for the arrival of the initial aircraft have been disclosed, however. Source

Italian MoD orders five M-345 trainer aircraft: Here


Leonardo has received two new contracts from the Italian MoD National Armaments Directorate, with an aggregate value of €500 million: one for an initial batch of five M-345 trainer aircraft, the second for the first development phase of the new exploration and escort helicopter (NEES) for the Italian Army.

M-345 Basic-Advanced Jet Trainer: Details

Turkish T129 variant

In September 2007, Turkey placed an order for 51 (plus 41 options) A129 helicopters for the attack and tactical reconnaissance (ATAK) programme. Tusas Aerospace Industries (TAI) is the prime contractor and is responsible for final assembly of the helicopter, which will be designated T129. AgustaWestland and Aselsan are the main subcontractors.

The maiden flight of the T129 helicopter took place on 28 September 2009 during an official ceremony held at AgustaWestland’s facility in Vergiate, Italy. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2012.

In November 2010, Turkey placed a $205m order with AgustaWestland for nine T129 combat helicopters and spare parts. Deliveries are scheduled to be completed by mid-2012.

T129 Attack Helicopter: Details


AW129 helicopter design


The structure of the helicopter is a semi-monocoque design with an aluminium alloy frame. Composite materials make up almost 50% of the fuselage weight.

The airframe provides ballistic protection against 12.7mm armour-piercing rounds. The engines are armour protected. The main rotor has ballistic tolerance against 12.7mm rounds.

AgustaWestland ARH-129D Mangusta

7-regt-mm81413-start-up-1-of-1Mangusta-A129D – Image:

AgustaWestland has now completed development and testing of upgraded weapons and target acquisition systems for the ARH-129D aerial reconnaissance helicopter, the latest version of the attack-variant AW129 Mangusta. The company has also completed the first flight of the T129, an upgraded AW129 being modified to meet the needs of the Turkish Land Forces Command’s ATAK (tactical reconnaissance and attack helicopter) program.

The most recent testing for the ARH-129D was conducted in Sardinia using a prototype. A major part of the testing for the aircraft was to ensure the compatibility of the aircraft’s laser systems—laser designator (LD), laser range finder (LRF), laser marker (LM) and laser spot detector (LSD)—with the electronic warfare and SIAP (single integrated air picture) self-protection suite, the company noted. Trials also verified the overall architecture and man-machine interface, the co-pilot/gunner dual hand-grip and head-up display (HUD) firing symbology.

2yjt4hxCo-pilot/gunner dual hand-grip

The trials also completed the validation phase for Spike air-to-ground missiles fitted with both high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and penetration blast fragmentation (PBF) warheads. The missiles were fired from distances over 6,000 meters (3.7 miles).

Spike air-to-ground missile

dsc7332_copiaSpike air-to-ground missile – Image:

The SPIKE-ER, formerly known as the NTD, is a multi-platform anti-tank missile with an extended range over previous SPIKE missiles. It has been designed to be mounted on ground vehicles, helicopters, and naval vessels. It seeker combines electro-optical sensors (IR/CCD-TV) and a fiber optic data link to achieve fire and forget and directed launch modes. Using the fiber optic data link the SPIKE-ER missile is able to perform battle damage assessment, in-flight retargeting, identification friend or foe, attacks without collateral damage and pinpoint accuracy strikes.

In June 2004, EuroSpike GmbH, a joint venture between Diehl (40%), Rheinmetall (40%), and Rafael (20%), was created to support Spike family of anti-armor missiles sales to European customers.

The SPIKE-ER missile operates day/night, in all weather conditions. Its tandem warhead ensures neutralization of ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) protected targets. A single missile launcher weighs about 58 kg, and the 4-missile launcher for helicopters weighs 187 kg. A wooden round SPIKE-ER missile weighs 33 kg.

The SPIKE-ER long range anti-tank missile is currently deployed in Israel Armed Forces. The SPIKE-ER is the Israeli counterpart to proven Hellfire long range anti-tank missile.


Diameter: 170 millimeter (6.69 inch)

Length: 1,670 millimeter (66 inch)


Max Range: 8,000 meter (4.32 nautical mile)

Min Range: 400 meter


Weight: 33 kilogram (73 pound)


AgustaWestland said that the drift on the multi-function control display, when passing from the sight unit to the missile image, has been reduced, adding that the precision on the TM-197B machine guns that had been achieved with the older HeliTOW sighting unit was re-established.

Designers have also retained the tracking launch rails for missile firings to allow changes in the elevation of the missiles to be launched, rather than having to change the attitude of the aircraft. During the trials, the ARH-129D prototype was used to designate a target, the first time employing an Italian Army helicopter rather than a fixed-wing Italian Air Force aircraft. The IAF dropped Lizard-guided bombs from its AMX training/light attack aircraft in both a stabilized flight profile at 15,000 feet and in a dive profile released between 10,000 and 8,000 feet. Tests were done with the ARH-129D’s LD locking onto the bombs in order to send to targets both before and after launch. Israel-based Elbit Systems makes the Lizard, and relies on a semi-active laser guided kit to hit the target. The company said that the laser designator will allow the aircraft to use 2.75-inch guided rockets or “smart” 155 mm artillery shells.

Lizard 2 LGB (500 lb)


LIZARD is an advanced new generation laser-guided bomb used for air-to-surface attacks of a variety of targets that are illuminated by a laser designator.

The LIZARD system features high accuracy, all digital electronics, and compatibility with a broad range of airborne and ground laser designators. The LIZARD modular design provides growth for Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance capability in adverse weather scenario and an alternative Autonomous Imaging InfraRed seeker for attack of a variety of mobile targets. Source

Final certification of the D model Mangusta helicopter is expected early next year, with kits that will include both the Rafael Toplite III and Spike systems, as well as interfaces such as the Selex Galileo compact control interface unit. Like AgustaWestland, Selex Galileo is a Finmeccanica company.

Rafael Toplite III


Toplite, highly stabilized, multi-role, multi-sensor optronic payload, is a day/night observation and targeting, configured for naval, air and ground surveillance and targeting systems.


Toplite is designed for a wide range of flexible and demanding missions, from law enforcement observation through surveying and fire control to missile targeting. The highly reliable Toplite is designed for maximum performance in minimum space and can be easily installed and maintained on aircraft and helicopters, naval vessels and vehicles.

Toplite provides the services required for precision guidance for guided weapons, day or night and under adverse weather conditions. Toplite enables observation, target detection, recognition and identification by the use of various sensors including FLIR, CCD and laser rangefinder. Toplite features both manual and automatic target tracking. The system includes the following sub-systems:

FLIR: 3rd GEN (3-5micron) or 8-12micron TDi

  • CCD camera B/W or color
  • Eye safe laser rangefinder
  • Laser designator (optional)
  • Advanced correlation tracker

Source: – Full details: Here

AgustaWestland plans to modify a total of 24 AW129 Mangustas into ARH-129Ds, followed by another 24 new builds, which will have further upgrades in terms of powerplants and computer capabilities. The Italian Army currently has 59 AW129s.

AgustaWestland has announced that its program to provide 60 T129s to the Turkish LFC is “progressing on time and on budget.” Delivery of nine early supplemental A129s is scheduled to begin in mid-2012, with the unit scheduled to receive 51 T129s starting in 2013. The first nine helicopters are intended for immediate operational needs and will have less powerful engines, simpler weapons systems and non-Turkish avionics. However, there are plans to upgrade these aircraft at some point in the future.

First flight of one of the T129 prototypes (P3) took place on March 11 in Vergiate, Italy. The first prototype (P6) developed by the full ATAK team is expected to fly “shortly,” the company said. The ATAK team consists of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI)—the prime contractor and system integrator—while AgustaWestland and Aselsan are the main subcontractors. ATAK placed an order for 51 T129s in September 2007. In November of last year, it placed a €150 million ($213.3 million) order for an additional nine, bringing total orders to 60 aircraft, plus 41 options.

A total of six prototypes are being built, with three assembled in Italy dedicated to the development of the basic vehicle, and three assembled in Turkey dedicated to mission systems test and evaluation.

Evaluation testing of the ASELFLIR 300 targeting system and the upgraded turreted gun system has already been conducted, with initial product support, offset and technology transfer activities progressing on schedule, according to the company. Source

Italy deploys Helicopter Force (including AW-129 Mangusta attack choppers) to Iraq: Here


This is the not the first time the Italian Mangustas (that have extensively been used in Afghanistan) are deployed to Iraq: the Italian Army operated the A-129 (a previous variant of the current AW-129D) in Iraq from 2003 to 2006, supporting the Italian Contingent based at Nassiryah.



The pilot and gunner cockpits are in a stepped tandem configuration. Both cockpits are equipped with multifunction displays, which present information from the integrated management system and provide a synthetic waypoint map, navigation data, weapon status, weapon selection, communications and aircraft / flight data. The displays are equipped with multifunction keyboards.

5rg_290The front cockpit of the “Mongoose” where sits the attendant to arms. the viewer pointing to the weapons systems, the pointing joystick (folded in the middle) and the two drive commands, cyclic and collective. AW-129C WSO – Image: eaf51.org5rg_286AW-129C Pilot:

The helicopter is equipped with an automatic flight control system, which provides nap-of-the-earth flight capability and the level of stability for precise weapon aiming.

A tactical navigation display enhances mission management and situational awareness.

5rg_010An eyeglass helmet-mounted projecting on a HDU (Helmet positioned in front of the right eye display unit) to the firing ballistic and emergency information, and flight (compass heading, altitude, speed), and the image is combined with the pointing of the weapon system. AW-129C WSO – Image: eaf51.org5rg_015AW-129C WSO – Image:

The helmet of the pilot or co-pilot contains some sensors so that it can be detected the movement. In this way it is sufficient to look towards the objective to allow the system to follow and acquire the target. The navigation information can be displayed and shooting dall’SDU eyepiece right-pilot, who in this way always has the data available without having to take your eyes inward.

These are two of the helmet motion detectors, placed behind the pilots.

a129_sensorHelmet motion detectors – Image:

Weapons on the AW129

The A129 International helicopter can be armed with Raytheon Stinger or MBDA (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics) Mistral air-to-air missiles. Stinger missile certification was successfully completed on the Italian Army A129CBT in October 2003, using Stinger RMP block I missiles.

The helicopter has dual air-to-ground missile capability with the Lockheed Martin Hellfire or Raytheon TOW 2 missile or a mix of both, giving the gunner selective fire against low and high-value targets, and the capability of precise hits in urban environments. The Mangusta is fitted with the HeliTOW system for the TOW2A missile.

The AW129 also has dual rocket system capability, deploying 70mm rockets for ammunition commonality with Nato countries and 81mm rockets for longer-range engagements. The Mangusta can carry four 81mm rocket launchers. A 20mm three-barrel Gatling-type turreted cannon with 500 rounds of ammunition is mounted under the nose.

  • Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M197 three-barrel Gatling-type cannon (500 rounds) in a TM197B Light Turreted Gun System (only CBT version)
  • Rockets: 4 pods with
    • 38× 81 mm (3.19 in) unguided rockets or
    • 76× 70 mm (2.75 in) unguided rockets or
    • 12.7 mm (.50 in) machine gun pod
  • Missiles:
    • 8× AGM-114 Hellfire or BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles
    • 4-8× AIM-92 Stinger or Mistral anti-aircraft missiles


Oto Melara 197B 20mm nose-mounted cannon


The TM 197B Light Turreted Gun System is designed for integration under the nose of combat and multi-role helicopters and features the General Dynamics M197 20mm Gatling gun.

The TM 197B  turret provides the helicopter with a weapon system suitable for air-to-ground and close range air-to-air combat missions, taking advantage of the performance of a 20mm gun with reduced weight and low profile, thus allowing a safe stand-off flight.

The TM 197B can be easily fitted into military helicopters, not originally  designed for the combat role.


The turret motion, in azimuth and elevation, is controlled by the pilot or the co-pilot/gunner by means of a Helmet and Display Sight System(which sense the position and the motion of the head of the two crew members) and/or by the Main Sight Unit of the Combat System of the helicopter.
Operation is possible at helicopter speeds up to 140 knots and the firing position is maintained under all critical flight and maneuver conditions.

The TM 197B turret provides flexible and fixed modes of fire. In case of aircraft or turret power failure the weapon returns to the fixed forward firing position and is automatically locked.  Source


Weight 132 pounds (60 kg)
Cartridge 20 × 102 mm
Caliber 20 mm
Barrels 3-barrel (progressive RH parabolic twist, 9 grooves)
Rate of fire Up to 1500 rpm
Muzzle velocity 1,030 m/s (3,300 ft/s)

Technical data

81 mm (3.19 in) or 70 mm (2.75 in) unguided rockets pod 

81 mm (3.19 in) or 70 mm (2.75 in) unguided rockets

12.7 mm (0.50 in) machine gun pod


AGM-114 Hellfire

AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles (Anti-armor) 500m to 8km at Mach 1.3a129_armiTOW missiles, rocket pods – Image:



The BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked and Wire-guided) missiles are designed to accurately destroy armored vehicles, fortifications and bunkers from safe ranges. Raytheon has produced more than 600,000 TOW missiles over the last 30 years for more than 40 international armed forces around the globe. The TOW missiles have been integrated in more than 15,000 ground vehicles and helicopters.

The BGM-71F TOW2B was delivered in 1992 featuring increased lethality against armored battle tanks. The TOW2B missile attacks tanks from the top where the tank’s armor is weak. TOW2B also features a dual mode sensor and is equipped with two new warheads. It flies over the top of the tank to destroy it from above. The two Explosively Formed Penetrator warheads explode downward reaching immediately the tank’s roof.  Source

Primary Function: Heavy anti-armor/assault missile
Prime Contractor: Raytheon Co.
Propulsion: Orbital ATK Launch Motor (Booster) + Flight motor
Length: 3.97 ft (1.21 m)
Diameter: 5.8 in (14.7 cm)
Wingspan: 18 in (46 cm)
Weight: 50.5 lbs (22.9 kg)
Speed: 440 mph (705 km/h)
Time of Flight: 23 seconds
Range: TOW 2B: 2.33 miles (3.75 km); TOW-2B Aero: 2.80 miles (4.5 km)
Guidance System: Optically-tracked, wire-guided
Warhead: Two Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) warheads – forward/aft


FIM-92A Stinger Weapons System


The Stinger system consists of a Stinger round encased in its launch tube and a separate gripstock assembly.

The “fire-and-forget” Stinger missile employs a passive infrared seeker to home in on its airborne target. A passive infrared seeker emits no radiation that a target aircraft can detect, and, instead, guides on the infrared energy (heat) emitted by the target. Because the Stinger employs a passive homing seeker, it is a “fire-and-forget” weapon that needs no guidance from the operator after firing, unlike other missiles that track the reflection of a designator beam, requiring the operator to maintain a lock on the target. This allows a Stinger operator to take cover, relocate, or engage other targets immediately after firing a Stinger.

The Stinger system features a proportional navigation system, integrated Indentification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogation, and threat adaptive guidance. Proportional navigation enables the missile to effectively hit moving targets by injecting a multiplier factor into course corrections so that the missile overcorrects for a target’s evasive maneuvers, leading the target to a successful interception. The integrated IFF subsystem allows the Stinger operator to query a target aircraft to determine if it is friendly. Before firing, the operator depresses a button on the gripstock assembly, emitting a coded radio signal. Aircraft equipped with friendly IFF systems will recognize the coded signal and respond with the appropriate coded reply. The IFF subsystem emits one tone if it authenticates a friendly aircraft, and another if the aircraft is unknown. The IFF subsystem is intended to prevent friendly-fire incidents. The Stinger’s threat adaptive guidance takesover in the final stages of its approach to the target, slightly shifting the missile’s aim from the target’s IR hotspot to more vulnerable areas of the aircraft.

The Air-to-Air Stinger [ATAS] is an adaption of the man portable Stinger System. It is a light weight missile designed to engage low altitude targets.

Manufacturer Prime – Hughes Missile System Company
Missile – General Dynamics /Raytheon Corporation
Propulsion Dual thrust solid fuel rocket motor
Length 5 feet (1.5 meters)
Width 5.5 inches (13.96 centimeters)
Weight 12.5 pounds (5.68 kilograms)
Weight fully armed 34.5 pounds (15.66 kg)
Maximum system span 3.6 inches (9.14 cm)
Range 1 to 8 kilometers
Sight ring 10 mils
Fuzing Penetration, impact, self destruct
Ceiling 10,000 feet (3.046 kilometers)
Speed Supersonic in flight
USMC Units Low-Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Battalions: 3 active duty, 2 reserve
Crew 2 enlisted
Guidance system Fire-and-forget passive infrared seeker
Warheads High explosive
Rate of fire 1 missile every 3 to 7 seconds
Type of fire “Fire-and-Forget”
Sensors Passive infrared
Introduction date 1987


Mistral ATAM air-to-air missile


MISTRAL ATAM is based on the MISTRAL missile with its fire-and-forget engagement mode, ease of operation and unrivalled kill probability.

The system is based on two launchers, each bearing two missiles and can be connected to the helicopter’s combat system, when mounted on combat helicopters, or through simplified control equipment if installed on multi-purpose helicopters.

In both cases, it is characterised by simplicity of operation, a very low crew workload and a high level of performance.

The system can be operated within the whole flight envelope of the launch helicopter, at speeds of up to 200 knots and at altitudes exceeding 15,000 ft.


MISTRAL ATAM ensures a large off-boresight capability, together with the ability to aim the missile seeker very precisely at a given target.

The missile has a shaped trajectory in order to intercept targets top-down or at long range, the crew can also select the proximity fuze mode.

MISTRAL ATAM is currently the only helicopter mounted air-to-air missile in full operational service.

MISTRAL ATAM is operated by the French Army Aviation on the Gazelle and is also in service on the Tiger attack helicopter. Integration onto India’s HAL Rudra helicopter is underway. Source

Entered service 1988
Missile length 1.86 m
Missile diameter 0.09 m
Fin span 0.18 m
Missile weight 18.7 kg
Missile weight in container 21.4 kg
Weight with launcher 41 kg
Warhead weight 3 kg
Warhead type High Explosive
Range of fire 6 km
Altitude of fire 3 km
Guidance Infrared homing



The AW129’s electronic warfare suite includes an Elettronica ELT-156 radar warning receiver and a BAE Systems Italia RALM-101 laser warner.

Elettronica ELT-156 radar warning receiver

The ELT/156 family of light radar warning receivers is designed to provide self-protec­tion for utility and combat aircraft and helicopters. It protects the platform during operations in insecure areas, anti-tank missions, escort of ground vehicles.Today’s operational scenarios are characterised by a very dense electromagnetic environment, with the presence of increasingly advanced emitters and in which the same sensors can be equally used by both friendly and hostile platforms.

Also, recent conflicts and peace-keeping missions, with the participation of multinational forces, are further highlighting the urgent need for timely and more reliable threat awareness. Threat discrimination thus becomes an extremely crucial aspect of own-platform survivability and mission success.To meet the challenge posed by current needs, the ELT 156 family is designed to detect, analyse and identify all the electromagnetic emissions in an extremely short time and beyond the maximum weapon system engagement zone.

System Highlights

  • High Probability of Intercept
  • Full azimuth coverage
  • Wideband radio frequency coverage (E to K)
  • Automatic warning of high priority emitters
  • Capability to operate also with raw data libraries (mission data)
  • Lightweight
  • Flight line re-programmable
  • Easy field maintainability (LRU philosophy).

Some versions include dual-mode cockpit display (raw/synthetic). Some versions can be fully integrated with ECM systems and platform data bus.Upgrades include the capability to operate in presence of an internal or external EW controller that exploits/performs functions for multi-sensor coordination.


The helicopter countermeasures systems include Elettronica ELT-554 radar and BAE Systems IEWS AN/ALQ-144A infrared jammer and chaff and flare decoy dispensers.

Elettronica ELT-554 radar

The threat likely to be encountered by tactical combat aircraft over the target area comprises radar-controlled Anti Aircraft Artillery (AAA), Surface to Air Missiles (SAM), Air to Air Missiles (AAM), besides Early Warning and Search radars.The ELT/553 family of self-protection jammers exploits years of company consolidated experience, and is conceived to defeat the above defence assets thus increasing aircraft survivability and mission success.Light (e.g. without the low band module) or enhanced ELT/553 configurations offer ideal self-protection solutions to helicopters, large radar cross-section aircraft respectively and tactical combat aircraft covering roles involving ground and air threats.

The ELT/553 family is field proven and currently in service featuring:

  • Maximum flexibility, operating either fully integrated with onboard RWR, or in a back-up (stand-alone) mode
  • Automatic deception of pulse and CW coherent and non coherent radars (lock-on,
    TWS, Search); effectiveness even in the presence of advanced ECCM techniques.

System Highlights

  • Multi-threat effectiveness against staggered and jittered PRI emitters, as well as against frequency diversity/frequency agility threats
  • Automatic jamming of lock-on radars, even if unknown emitters
  • Easy programmability of receiver parameters and jamming sequences
  • Easy installation and full compatibility with other onboard avionics for a wide range of platforms.


AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammer


The AN/ALQ-144 IR Countermeasures Set is an always-on infrared jammer, providing protection against infrared missiles over a wide environmental range. The system is extremely flexible, as it offers multiple configurations to complement small-to medium- signature helicopters. It may operate independently or cohesively with a missile warning system and flares.


  • Mission versatility
  • Instantaneous and complete protection
  • Active-multi-threat jamming capability



Observation and targeting

The helicopter’s infrared night-vision system (HIRNS) includes a mini forward-looking infrared (FLIR), supplied by Honeywell, mounted on a steerable platform at the nose of the helicopter.


The pilot’s integrated helmet and display sighting system (IHADS), by Honeywell, positions a monocle over one eye and displays the view presented by the FLIR. The system provides automatic weapon aiming, which can be used by day or night.

A mast-mounted sight can be installed, giving the helicopter the capability to aim and fire weapons from cover. The sight is used for target acquisition, missile tracking, laser target designation, laser tracking and laser rangefinding.


av12AW-129C – Image:

The AW129 helicopter has a fireproof engine compartment with two low-noise LHTEC-T800 turboshaft engines. The engines are separated, and there are two separate fuel systems with cross-feed capability.

The crash-resistant tanks are self-sealing and fitted with self-sealing lines and a digital fuel feed controller. The thermal signature is minimised by the installation of an infrared exhaust suppression system.

2 x LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engine

The CTS800 engine features a modular design combining an advanced technology twin spool compressor, annular combustor, and bladed four stage turbine. Operating the engine in the world’s most austere environments is possible due to the integrated particle separator inlet. Coupled with a highly redundant, dual channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC ) system the CTS800 is one of the safest engines in operation today.

Specification CTS800-4
Power shp (kW) 1,362 (1,015)
Pressure ratio 14:1
Length in (m) 33.9 (0.86)
Diameter in (m) 22.1 (0.56)
Basic weight lb (Kg) 375 (170)
Compressor 2CFHP
Turbine 2HP, 2PT
Applications Shinmaywa US-2 BLC, AgustaWestland Super Lynx, AgustaWestland Lynx MK9A, AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wilcat, AgustaWestland ATAK Team T129, Sikorsky X-2 demonstrator


AW129 performance


The AW129 can climb at a rate of 11.3m per second. The maximum and cruise speeds of the helicopter are 278km per hour and 229km per hour, respectively.

The maximum and ferry ranges of the helicopter are 561km and 1,000km respectively.

The service ceiling of the helicopter is 4,725m, and the endurance is three hours. The helicopter weighs approxinately 2,530kg.

Main material source

Revised Jan 06, 2017

Updated Oct 30, 2017


Operators: Here

The Agusta A129 Mangusta is a twin-turboshaft-engined two-seat multi-role attack helicopter produced by the Italian Manufacturer Agusta, today AgustaWestland.

Crew 2
Propulsion 2 Turboshaft Engines
Engine Model LHTEC CTS800-2
Engine Power (each) 1016 kW 1362 shp
Speed 278 km/h 150 kts
173 mph
Service Ceiling 6.096 m 20.000 ft
Range 561 km 303 NM
349 mi.
Empty Weight 2.529 kg 5.575 lbs
max. Takeoff Weight 5.100 kg 11.244 lbs
Rotor Blades (main/tail) 5/2
Main Rotor Diameter 11,90 m 39 ft 1 in
Tail Rotor Diameter 2,50 m 8 ft 2 in
Rotor Disc Area 111,2 m² 1197 ft²
Length (Fuselage) 12,62 m 41 ft 5 in
Length 14,29 m 46 ft 11 in
Height 3,35 m 10 ft 12 in
First Flight 11.09.1983
Production Status in production
ICAO Code A129
Data for (Version) Agusta A129 International
Variants T129


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.