Maiden flight for the first HH-101 of the Italian Air Force

Maiden flight for the first HH-101 of the Italian Air Force

The helicopter configuration is destined to personnel recovery and Special Forces operations. The first two models will be delivered within 2014

Maiden flight for the HH-101A Caesar, the AW101 designed for the Italian Air Force. The helicopter took off for the first time from AgustaWestland’s facility in Yeovil, in the United Kingdom. The event saw the participation of the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Forces, Lieutenant General Pasquale Preziosa, of the Italian ambassador Domenico Terraciano and of other military and public figures.

Designed especially for combat SAR, the HH-101A will gradually replace the current fleet of Agusta/Sikorsky HH-3 Pelicans. The aircrafts will be configured for rescuing the military staff and the Special Forces. The first 15 models will be delivered within the last quarter of 2014.

In the words of AgustaWestland, the HH-101A Caesar represents ‘today’s most advanced medium-level helicopter’. It has three 7.62 mm miniguns M134, placed on the right and left side and on the rear ramp. Furthermore, the helicopter has armoured cockpit seats, ballistic protection for machine gun operators, and an air-to-air refuelling kit for extended range operatoions.

For what it concerns its main features, they are similar to those of its civil ‘cousin’, the AW101. In fact, it has three Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01 turbo shafts that reach a maximum speed of 167 knots, with a range of 517 miles.

The helicopter is 19 meters long and 6 meters high and it can transport up to 38 passengers, with a maximum takeoff weight of 14.600 kg.

During the debut ceremony of the HH-101, AgustaWestland also clarified the terms of the training, which will be coordinated under a cooperation between AgustaWestland Training Organization in Frosinone and the 72nd Stormo (72nd Helicopter Training Wing) of the Italian Air Force. The two will develop a training strategy based on the AW139, which will ensure a proper education for the pilots of both the HH139 and those of the new entry HH101.