The A129 Mangusta (Mongoose), armed with anti-tank and area-suppression weapons systems, is intended primarily as an attack helicopter to be used against armored targets. The aircraft can operate during day, night, and all-weather conditions.
The A129 Mangusta claims to be a proven 'hot climate' operator, as demonstrated during its peacekeeping operations. The A129 was succesfully employed in Somalia where it proved highly reliable and extremely flexible. The A129 MANGUSTA is manufactured in Italy by the Agusta aircraft company. Agusta developed the A129 Mangusta anti-tank helicopter, the first attack helicopter to be designed and produced wholly in Europe, which demonstrated Agusta's capacity to satisfy the most complex technical requirements. Italy is the only country with this helicopter in its inventory, with the Italian Army.
An escort/scout version of the Mangusta is under development for deployment with airmobile units. The ship would also be armed for air-to-air combat. The A129 International, developed from A129 Mangusta, responds to the requirements of today's armed forces for a multi-role combat helicopter that combines high performance and survivability with low support costs. The new 15-passenger AB139 utility helicopter is designed around the transmission of the A129 Mangusta attack helicopter.
The four-blade main rotor is mounted on the top center of the cabin, while weapon-carrying wings are short, stubby, and mid-mounted on the fuselage. The fuselage is slender and tapered to the rear, with fixed landing gear. The tandem cockpit is glassed-in and flat-plated, and tapered from the cockpit to the blunted nose. The tail boom tapers to the rear, with a high, swept-back fin with square tip. The flats are unequally tapered with a square tip, while the belly fin has the rear landing wheel attached. The tail rotor is mounted on the left side.
Two turboshaft engines with semicircular air intakes are mounted alongside the top of the fuselage. The Rolls-Royce Gem 1004, the powerplant in the Agusta A129 attack helicopter, is derived from the Gem family of engines originally designed as military engines to meet British Ministry of Defence requirements. The Gem 1004 achieved type approval in 1986 and entered service with the Italian Army in 1989. It incorporates features to enhance the mission capability of attack helicopters in all phases: simple engine controls with automatic engine management, fast start-up, high power for fast transit, low specific fuel consumption for endurance, low signatures, fast engine response for agility, robust design and emergency rating for battlefield survivability, low fuel consumption for secure return and low maintenance.
A129 INTERNATIONAL MULTI-ROLE COMBAT HELICOPTER, ITALY
The Italian Army is equipped with 45 A129 Mangusta helicopters and has ordered 15 A129 International. The first of these, which are referred to as A129 CBT (combat configuration) was delivered to the Italian Air Force in October 2002.
In January 2002, AgustaWestland were awarded a contract to upgrade the first 45 to the multi-role standard. TheThe upgrade includes: 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 20mm nose-mounted cannon, new FLIR (forward-looking infrared) system, improved countermeasures suite including EADS AN/AAR-60 missile launch detector, new global positioning / inertial navigation (GPS/INS) system. Deliveries are scheduled from 2005-07.
The A129 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.
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.
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.
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.
The A129 International helicopter can be armed with Raytheon Stinger or MBDA (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics) Mistral air-to-air missiles. Italian Army A129 Mangustas are equipped with Stinger. In October 2003, Stinger missile certification was successfully completed on the Italian Army A129CBT 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 A129 International 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.
The helicopter's electronic warfare suite includes a Elettronica ELT-156 radar warning receiver and BAE Systems Italia RALM-101 laser warner. The helicopter countermeasures systems include Elettronica ELT-554 radar and BAE Systems IEWS AN/ALQ-144A infrared jammer and chaff and flare decoy dispensers.
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.
The A129 International 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