The AgustaWestland AW109, originally the Agusta A109, is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter designed and initially produced by the Italian rotorcraft manufacturer Agusta.
It was the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced.
Its production has been continued by Agusta’s successor companies, presently Leonardo S.p.A. (formerly AgustaWestland, merged into the new Finmeccanica since 2016).
Development of the A109 commenced during the late 1960s as an indigenous rotorcraft suited to commercial operations.
A twin-engine arrangement was pursued in response to market interest, while work on the civil model was prioritized over the military orientated A109B project.
On 4 August 1971, the first of three prototypes made its maiden flight.
On 1 June 1975, the type received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), permitting its service entry in 1976.
The A109 has been used in a wide variety of roles, including light utility, VIP transport, aeromedical, law enforcement, search and rescue (SAR), and several military roles.
Dedicated military models have been produced for both land and sea operations.
Several models with alternative engines, expanded fuselages, and alternative equipment fit outs have been produced.
Some AW109s feature an convertible interior to quickly adapt the rotorcraft between roles.
Various third party companies also offer adaptions and services for the type.
Following the merger of Agusta and the British company Westland Helicopters to form AgustaWestland, the A109 has been rebranded as the AW109.
International involvement in the program has also been pursued; the company has established final assembly lines at sites in both Italy and the US.
Furthermore, hundreds of AW109 fuselages have been manufactured by the Polish aerospace company PZL-Świdnik since the mid-1990s.
AgustaWestland formed a joint venture with the Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation in 2004 that produces and supports the AW109, includes a final assembly line, in China.
The AW109 has been in continuous production for 40 years.
The AgustaWestland AW119 is a derivative of the AW109, the principal difference being that it is powered by a single engine and has a fixed undercarriage.
The first production model, powered by two Allison Model 250-C20 turboshaft engines.
It made its first flight on 4 August 1971.
Military version for the Italian Army.
Upgraded civilian version of the A109A.
A109A Mk.II MAX
Aeromedical evacuation version based on A109A Mk.II with extra wide cabin and access doors hinged top and bottom, rather than to one side.
Unbuilt military version.
Version created for the Belgian Army.
Based on the A109C but fitted with fixed landing gear, sliding doors and a tail rotor guard in place of a lower tail fin.
Eight-seat civil version, powered by two Allison Model 250-C20R-1 turboshaft engines.
Aeromedical evacuation version based on A109C with extra-wide cabin and access doors hinged top and bottom, rather than to one side.
One prototype only
Upgraded civilian version, initially powered by two Turbomeca Arrius 2K1 engines.
Later the manufacturer introduced an option for two Pratt & Whitney PW206C engines to be used – both versions remain known as the A109E.
Marketed as the AW109E and Power.
A109E Power Elite
A stretched cabin version of A109E Power. Features a glass cockpit with two complete sets of pilot instruments and navigation systems, including a three-axis autopilot, an auto-coupled Instrument Landing System and GPS.
Military LUH “Light Utility Helicopter” variant based on the A109E Power.
Operators include South African Air Force, Swedish Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Nigerian Air Force, as well as Algeria and Malaysia.
Known as the Hkp15A (utility variant) and 15B (ship-borne search and rescue variant) with the Swedish Air Force.
Eight A109E Power aircraft were used by the United States Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron Jacksonville (HITRON Jacksonville) as short-range armed interdiction helicopters from 2000 until 2008, when they were replaced with MH-65C Dolphins.
Agusta designated these armed interdiction aircraft as “Mako” until the U.S. Coast Guard officially named it the MH-68A Stingray in 2003.
High-altitude and high-temperature operations with fixed wheels rather than the retractable wheels of most A109 variants.
Typically used by police, search and rescue, and air ambulance operators.
Military version for high altitude and high temperature operations.
Standard military version.
Version for Guardia di Finanza, the Italian Finance Guard.
Marketed as the AW109 Grand, it is a lengthened cabin-upgraded civilian version with two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207 engines and lengthened main rotor blades with different tip design from the Power version.
single pilot IFR, TAWS and EVS, especially for EMS.
A variant of the AW109S Grand with fixed landing skids.
Chinese model of the AW109E for China mainland market by Jiangxi Changhe Agusta Helicopter Co., Ltd., a Leonardo Helicopter Division(formerly AgustaWestland) and Changhe Aviation Industries Joint Venture Company established in 2005.