September 2014

2014 SeptemberAgusta A129 Mangusta [Mongoose]

The AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta is the first attack helicopter to be designed and produced wholly in Western Europe. It is used in anti-armor, armed reconnaissance, ground attack, escort, fire support and anti-aircraft roles. The A-129 is a 2-seat attack helicopter originally powered by two Rolls-Royce Gem 2 turboshaft engines with a 4-bladed rotor system resulting in high-g capability and excellent maneuverability. The fuselage is angled and heavily armored to protect its crew. Its composite rotor blades are ballistic tolerant. The Mangusta was the first attack helicopter equipped with an integrated multiplex system data bus for combining navigation, communication, helmet mounted displays, night vision and FLIR into one system.

Agusta built five prototypes before receiving an order for 60 helicopters from the Italian Army. The A-129 first flew in 1983. Several European countries and Australia originally interested finally bought the competitors Boeing Apache and Eurocopter Tiger. The AW129 export version is a multi-mission all-weather derivative first flown in 1995. Remarkable is the 5-bladed rotor and the long ammunition tunnel outside the body feeding the machine gun in the nose. Due to weight increase stronger engines were installed with exhaust air mixed for reduced infrared signature. A plentitude of modern passive and active systems plus extended weaponry enhanced its capabilities. The TAI/AgustaWestland T129 ATAK is a variant of the A-129 built by Turkish Aerospace Industries for the Turkish Army.

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