Agusta had gained experience from licenced building of the Agusta/Bell-47. Agusta designed a new fuselage around the Bell-47 that increased its capacity to eight passengers. The first prototype flew on 3 February 1959 and was seen in military colours at the 1959 Paris Airshow. Designed to fill the growing civilian helicopter market, the A.102 sold to several Italian commercial companies, powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 piston engine developing 600hp, mounted in the aft cabin, had a range of 400km and a cruising speed of 160kph.
The name Agusta-Bell was applied because Agusta used in this aircraft a Bell two-blade main rotor system complete with stabilising bar below and at right angles to the rotor blades. In other respects it was of conventional pod and boom configuration, the tail pylon mounting a two-blade anti-torque rotor. Tubular skid landing gear was provided. The forward cabin was furnished to accommodate a pilot and 7/9 passengers. Up to 880kg of freight could be carried internally in an all-cargo role. An electric hoist was also available optionally for use in SAR operations.
The Elivie company, which was already running flights with AB-47J helicopters between Naples and the islands, took delivery of a couple of A.102s in spring 1961, to operate a regular service between the center of Turin and Milan airports. The availability of new turbine-powered helicopters, however, soon rendered the A.102 obsolete.
Engine: 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-1340-S1H4 radial, 600 hp / 447kW
Main rotor diameter: 14.5m
Take-off weight: 3025kg
Empty weight: 1810kg
Max speed: 177km/h
Cruising speed: 160km/h
Service ceiling: 3900m