UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


AW109 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)

The AW109 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) has established itself as a best-selling military light-twin helicopter able to satisfy a wide range of military requirements. This ability to fulfil a wide range of missions makes the aircraft a true force multiplier, providing military commanders with excellent operational flexibility. The AW109 LUH is a rugged helicopter with excellent ballistic tolerance, redundancy of systems and crashworthiness for maximum safety and survivability.

Avionics include an advanced digital cockpit, based on 3 AMLCDs and a digital 4-axis AFCS. A vast array of advanced equipment including sophisticated sensors are available. The integrated Mission Equipment Package (MEP) includes day/night and IFR avionics for single or dual pilot operations with a four-axis digital Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS).

The availability of a wide range of mission equipment makes the LUH a real multi-role helicopter, able to perform all light helicopter roles including training, troop transport, medical evacuation, search and rescue, maritime patrol, observation, armed escort and anti-armour. In addition, the AW109 LUH can also be armed with rocket pods, machine gun pods, pintled mounted machine guns, anti-tank and air-to-air missiles.

The AW109 Power is a versatile aircraft that offers the highest level of benefits for government and military markets, combining optimum performance with cost-effectiveness. The Power’s flexibility allows it to perform a wide variety of missions for military forces. The Power is valued by operators and pilots alike for its outstanding performance, reliability and ease of maintenance combined with mission flexibility, high speed and productivity. It is single pilot IFR certified and can perform Category “A” take-offs from elevated helipads without any payload reduction, while complying with the European regulations relating to Class 1 performance helicopters. The AW109 Power can be equipped with either Pratt & Whitney or Turbomeca engines controlled by a Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system. Pilot workload is reduced by way of a digital glass cockpit with six liquid crystal instrument displays.


Several military versions of the Hirundo A109 were developed for army, naval, and patrol use. The four-blade main rotor is mounted on hump above the body midsection, while weapon-carrying platforms at bottom midsection. Two turboshaft engines are mounted on the top of the fuselage, with exhaust ports protruding upward and to the rear. The fuselage is rectangular with a flat belly and retractable landing gear and an upswept, tapered rear section.. The tapered, rounded nose section features a stepped cockpit. The swept-back and tapered tail fin with angular tip. Swept-back and tapered belly fin with angular tip. Small rotor on left side attached to the tapered tail boom.

The baseline LUH is a light twin engine helicopter in the 3000 kg class. With the addition of appropriate role fit equipment, LUH is able to satisfy a diverse range of mission requirements demanded from a military light utility helicopter. Due to the high power margins afforded by the new generation Turbomeca Arrius 2K2 or Pratt & Whitney PW207 engines with automatic control (FADEC), the LUH boasts excellent performance even at maximum weight. A glass cockpit, utilising three interchangeable 6 x 8 liquid crystal Multi-Function Displays (MFD), allows enhanced flight and mission management capability. Mission and video information is shared between two MFDs to permit improved crew co-ordination and increased situational awareness and mission management. The instrument panel, interior and exterior lighting are compatible with third generation night vision goggles. A wide range of armament and mission equipment makes the LUH a real multi-role helicopter able to satisfy the most demanding military requirements.

The Power represents the best solution for an embarked light twin helicopter, thanks to its multi-mission effectiveness, extensive corrosion protection and its ability to operate in high sea states from small ships. The aircraft features a reinforced-wheeled landing gear to withstand the rigours of ship operations and provides easy deck handling compared to skid-equipped aircraft. Storage on board ship is facilitated through quick removal of two of the main rotor blades. To withstand high pitch and roll movement, secure lashing points and mooring provisions are provided. The maritime variant is also equipped with an advanced avionics suite allowing all-weather operations and can be equipped with a 360° or 120° scan search radar and maritime band radios allowing communications with other naval units. The A109 Power greatly extends a ships horizon and can track surface vessels while relaying data by voice or data link back to the ship or other units.

In September 2000 the US Coast Guard began proceedings to acquire, under 2-year lease, a number of Agusta A109E helicopters for "Go-Fast" drug interdiction, to be based at Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Florida. Two Agusta 109's, which was given the military designation MH-68A Stingray, were to be delivered on 6 October, 2000 but this did not happen as Agusta did not have the helicopters ready but a ceremony was performed in Philadelphia at Agusta's U.S. assembly plant at N.E. Philadelphia Airport nonetheless.

Besides service with the USCG, the A109 Power was also selected for law enforcement duties by Italian, British, Nigerian and Chinese agencies. Additionally, it serves military roles with the South African Air Force, Swedish MoD and Italian Navy. The A109 Power, the only twin light helicopter capable of ship-based operations, was again confirmed worldwide as the best-selling light twin helicopter in 2001. And with more than 250 orders booked since entering the market in 1996, the A109 Power had another record-breaking year in 2002.

Agusta’s industrial collaboration with China began in 1999, when Agusta was awarded a $30 million contract to design and develop the transmission system for the China Medium Helicopter program. In 2004, Agusta formed a joint venture with Changhe Aircraft for the production and local support of the Agusta A109 helicopter. As of 2009, the joint-venture company, the Changhe AgustaHelicopter Co., Ltd., had the capacity for final assembly of the A109, as well as the ability to manufacture the fuselage and various other components.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 05-02-2015 19:23:52 ZULU