AgustaWestland has developed its AW149 model as a military-minded, medium-lift helicopter, competing with the Eurocopter AS532 "Cougar" Mil Mi-17 "Hip", NH Industries NH90 and the ubiquitous Sikorsky UH-60 "Black Hawk" helicopter lines. The AW189 is its civilian market form - currently in development as of June 2014. The AW149, developed from the preceding (and globally popular) AW139 company model, was first showcased to the public at the 2006 Farnborough Air Show in the U.K. and achieved its first flight on November 13th, 2009.
To date (2016), the AW149 has yet to secure its first customer. Turkish interest eventually sided with the Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk while the Italians selected the AW139M product. The AW149 may still be secured by the Polish military currently in search for a new multi-role, medium-lift helicopter platform.
Compared to the earlier AW139, the AW149 has been given uprated turboshaft engines in the form of 2 x General Electric CT7-2E1s generating up to 1,980 horsepower each installation. Engineers have increases the aircraft's Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) to reach the required military capabilities found in competing medium-lift types available. Cruising speeds reach in excess of 175 miles per hour, slightly slower than the civilian-minded AW139 product, though the AW149 also carries a larger fuselage structure resulting in increased internal storage space for infantry, cargo and fuel - broadening the tactical capabilities of the helicopter. The aircraft is also laden with integral countermeasures, armor, a reinforced undercarriage and specialized mission equipment for the modern battlefield.
Internally, the AW149 model is crewed by a standard pairing of two pilots. Its cabin space allows for up to eighteen passengers or the equivalent twelve armed, combat-ready troops. The helicopter also features an external cargo-hauling capability, able to carry a sling load of up to 6,000lbs. Externally, the aircraft is of a conventional arrangement with a forward-set, two-seat, side-by-side cockpit behind large windscreen panels and a lengthened nose cone assembly. Entry/exit is by way of hinged automobile-style doors while sliding doors are provided at the passenger cabin sides. Large, rounded-rectangular windows dot the sides of the fuselage. The engines are fitted over the passenger cabin in the usual way and aspirated by side intake openings. The main rotor mast sits low atop the helicopter and drives a four-bladed rotor assembly. This is coupled with a four-bladed tail rotor seated to starboard. Its drive shaft resides within the elevated tail stem. The helicopter sits atop a wheeled undercarriage in a tricycle arrangement, the main legs showcasing single wheels while the nose leg is given a dual-wheel approach. Dimensionally, the aircraft carries a length of 57 feet, 8 inches with a width of 10 feet and height of 16 feet, 10 inches. Its rotor diameter reaches nearly 48 feet. Gross weight is in the vicinity of 18,960lbs.
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January 2021 - Egypt continues an expansion of its AW149 fleet, having received five of the twenty-four helicopters ordered from a 2019 deal.
July 2022 - Poland has signed a deal to cover 32 AW149 multi-mission helicopters worth $1.8bn USD. The helicopters will be built under license in Poland by PZL-Swidnik.
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