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Agusta A.109



The first mass-produced helicopter designed by Agusta, the A 109 Hirundo (Swallow), was originally intended to be powered by a single 740hp Turbomeca Astazou XII turboshaft but was redesigned in 1967 for two Allison 250-C14 engines.

Feasibility studies for a medium-capacity helicopter - the A.109 - began in 1969. Wind tunnel tests, lasting almost a year, enabled the characteristics of the new helicopter to be greatly refined. Once the basic project had been drawn up, final design work of parts and equipment began in spring 1970, and in the summer, detailed construction work was started.

The aircraft was assembled in spring 1971 and the prototype (NC7101) made its first flight on 4 August 1971 from the Cascina Costa plant. It was piloted by Ottorino Lancia, accompanied by Paolo Bellavita, who had developed the aircraft together with Bruno Lovera. Owing to a minor accident, testing was resumed some time later, in 1972, using the second prototype, as well as a special static test rig for the dynamic components. In 1973 a third prototype in military configuration was developed, together with a fourth model for civil use and an airframe for static tests.

The A.109 has a four-blade articulated rotor, especially designed for fast flight. The rotor blades are honeycomb structure with a light alloy skin and extensive structural bonding. The fuselage is a metal honeycomb with light alloy panels. The cabin can have various internal layouts, with pilot and crew seated side-by-side, two bench seats for two-three people, and a baggage compartment. Behind the cabin is the rear fuselage section, which carries the landing gear units and fuel tanks. The fuel is distributed by electric pumps from two tanks with a total capacity of 550 litres. The two turbine engines are mounted side-by-side but are fully independent.
The five prototypes of the A.109 were certified on 30 May 1975. American approval followed two days later on 1 June. Production had already begun with five aircraft for evaluation by the Italian Army. Atlantic Aviation, then the American distributors of the Agusta 109, took out an option on 100 aircraft for the civil market at the same time.
The first A 109 pre-production aircraft was not completed until April 1975. Delivery of production machines, designated A 109A, started in 1976. The Agusta 109A has been certi-ficated for single-pilot IFR; 20 January 1977 (Italy); 22 December 1977 (USA).

A specialised military utility model, the A 109B, was proposed, but in 1969 this was abandoned in favour of the eight-seat A 109C civil version certificated in early 1989. The A.109C (civil) version had the same four-blade rotor but a completely new fuselage, with cleaner lines and a retractable undercarriage.

The hi-tech maritime A 109A ECM (electronic countermeasures) variant has a radar display, direction finder, electromagnetic emission analyser and jamming equipment.

Agusta introduced the general purpose Model A.109A Mk.II derivative, which has been modified to improve engine-out performance at high altitudes, and in hot climates. This features an uprated transmission, two 400 shp (276 kW) Allison 250-C20B turboshafts and seating for seven passengers. First delivered in 1981, nearly 200 had been built by 1989, following on from the 150 or so of the original model. From 1985 the Mk II has been available in a 'wide-body' configuration with bulged fuselage sides for greater comfort.




Belgium has ordered 46 Mk II-Plus versions for Army use. Several military versions of the A.109A Mk.II are offered for armed scout, light-attack, command and control, utility, ESM/ECM, and naval roles. The A.109 MAX is a wide-body medevac variant of the A109 Mk II. The naval variant may be configured for ASW/ASV with a long-range search radar, as well as for SAR, utility, and medevac. It may also be employed, with suitable systems installed, for over-the-horizon guidance of ship-launched Otomat missiles. The Mirach version of the A.109A carries two Mirach 100 battlefield surveillance RPVs, while other reconnaissance/surveillance models can carry Flir equipment.
Developed for multirole hot-and-high missions, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, the A.109K is powered by two 539kW Turbomeca Arriel 1K turboshafts each rated at 575kW for 2.5 minutes, 550kW for take-off (30 minutes) and 471kW maximum continuous power, has a length-ened nose for additional avionics, and a taller fixed tricycle landing gear. A new composite main rotor hub is resistant to abrasion by sand and dust. The A.109K flew in April 1983, and is primarily intended for two-crew combat missions armed with TOW anti-tank missiles and gun pods. The first flight of the production representative second aircraft took place in March 1984. Main transmission uprated to 671kW for take-off and maximum continuous twin-engined operation; single-engine rating is 477kW for 2.5 minutes and 418kW maximum continuous. Main rotor rpm 384, tail rotor 2,085. Standard usable fuel capacity 750 litres, with optional 150 litre auxiliary tank for EMS operations, or 200 litre auxiliary tank in the A109KM. Self-sealing fuel tanks optional. Independent fuel and oil system for each engine.

The Italian Army’s advanced obser-vation helicopter, the A.109EOA, is similar in configuration to the A.109K but is powered by twin uprated Allison 250-C20R engines giving better performance than the standard -C20Bs of the A.109A.




Both the A 109 EOA and A 109K feature fixed undercarriage and a lengthened nose.

PZL in Poland were making all the fuselages for the Agusta A109, AW119 and AW139, before shipping them to Brindisi, Italy, for customour fit-out. PZL also manufactured the A109 and A139 tail booms.

Total of all versions delivered by 1 January 1999 was 621, of which 513 civil and 108 military.

The Power has two Allison 250-C20R/1 turboshafts, each rated at 335kW for 5 minutes for T-O and 283kW maximum continuous; flat rated at 258kW for twin- engine operation; engines mounted side by side in upper rear fuselage and separated from passenger cabin and from each other by firewalls.

Transmission ratings 589kW for take-off and 567kW for maximum continuous twin-engined operation, with maximum contingency rating of 607kW for 6 seconds. Rating for single-engined operation is 336kW for take-off (5 minutes limit). Two bladder fuel tanks in lower rear fuselage, combined capacity 560 litres, of which 550 litres are usable. Refuelling point in each side of fuselage, near top of each tank. Oil capacity 7.7 litres for each engine and 12 litres for transmission. Provision for internal auxiliary tank containing up to 150 litres of fuel.


Two of Argentina's four A 109As were captured during the 1982 Falklands War and were used by the British.


A.109 Hirundo
Eight-seat executive helicopter with streamlined fuselage incorporating vertical fin and tailplane, 4-blade main rotor, retractable tricycle u/c, 2345kg TOGW and powered by two 420shp Allison 250-C20B turboshafts. Prot. NC7101 FF 4 Aug. 1971.

A.109 with additional ventral fin, structural strengthening and 2585kg TOGW. Initial production model, powered by twin 313kW Allison 250-C20B turboshaft engines. Replaced by A 109C Mk II from September 1981.

A.109A Mk.II

Single-pilot IFR certificated version of A.109A with two 450shp Allison 250 C20R/1 engines, increase in transmission rating; new tail rotor driveshaft with two-point suspension; increased tail rotor blade life and reliability through use of Nomex core material and improved bonding techniques; new self- damping engine mounts; new integral-design oil coolers and blowers; redesigned tailboom; higher-pressure hydraulic system; improved avionics and instrument layout; additional access panels; and removable floor in baggage compartment. A utility version with less sophisticated interior and instrumentation was also available from 1983.

A 109A Mk II Plus
Special law enforcement model.

A.109A TOW
Military A.109A with externally mounted Hughes TOW missile tubes and nose-mounted ranging module.

A. 109BA
Anti-tank version for Belgian Army.

A 109C
Certificated in USA by Agusta Aerospace Corporation in early 1989; approved for single-pilot IFR operation; transmission uprated from 552kW to 589kW; 'wide-body' cabin; new composites main rotor blades; Wortmann aerofoil on tail rotor; strengthened landing gear; maximum T-O weight raised to 2,720kg, affording 109kg increase in payload. Other civil/public service roles include law enforcement and coastal patrol with 360° radar. Military version A.109CM.

A 109CM
Military version of civil A 109C powered by two 335.6kW Allison 250-C20R/1; can have sliding doors and fixed landing gear; ventral fin removed; first customer Belgian Army (Agusta designation 109BA) with 18 scout versions and 28 anti-tank versions designated 109HO and 109HA respectively by customer; ordered 1988; first delivery, from offset supplier Sabca, February 1992; first 109BA with equipped weight reduced to originally specified 1,944kg delivered 25 November 1992; maximum T-O weight increased to 2,850kg; this was 11th of 46 109BAs; composites sliding doors, relocated batteries and custom Collins/Alcatel Bell avionics; scouts have roof-mounted Saab Helios stabilised observation sight; anti-tank system has roof-mounted Saab/ESCO HeliTOW 2 sight and TOW-2A missiles on lateral pylons; firing trials completed in Sardinia late 1992. Last Belgian aircraft delivered 4 February 1994.

Experimental A.109K-2 with retractable u/c, new rotor head with titanium hub and Allison 250-C22 turboshaft.

A.109 EOA
Military A.109A for Italian Army with sliding doors, fixed u/c, external ordnance points and two 450shp Allison 250 C20R/1 turboshafts. 24 (16 EOA-1 and eight EOA-2) delivered in 1988 as Elicottero d'Osservazione Avanzata to Aviazione dell'Esercito; fitted with sliding doors, roof-mounted SFIM M334-25 daytime sight with CILAS laser ranger, variety of armament options, fixed landing gear, crashworthy fuel tanks and ECM. Maximum flight weight with slung load 2,850kg.

A.109E Power
A.109D with fixed u/c, wider cabin, redesigned instrument panel and controls, modified tailfin and two 732shp Pratt & Whitney PW206C turboshafts. Prototype registered I-EPWR.

A 109 G di F
Special version for coastal patrol, equipped with an integrated Mission Equipment Package (MEP) including various communication and navigation systems, 360° search radar RDR-1500, and searchlight, FLIR, and weapon systems such as pintle-mounted MG-3 machine gun.

A. 109K
Military version of A.109A with revised nose profile, redesigned engine compartment and uprated transmission, external stores hardpoints, optional fixed u/c, composite main-rotor head with elastomeric bearings and composite blades with hard surface coating; new tail rotor of Wortman blade section; longer nose-to-house additional avionics and 722shp Turbomeca Arriel 1K turboshafts for enhanced hot & high operations. Also known as A.109KM and A.109KN (Naval version).

Civil hot and high rescue version with special avionics, fixed u/c, new fuel tanks. Tail skid replacing ventral fin, 771shp Arriel 1K1 engines, rescue hoist etc. Prototype registered HB-XWA.

A 109K2 Law Enforcement
Dedicated police version; optional equipment includes 907kg cargo hook, 204kg capacity variable speed rescue hoist with 50m of cable, rappelling kit, wire-strike protection, SX-16 searchlight, MA3 retractable light, external loudspeakers, emergency floats, GPS, FM tactical communications, weather radar, LLTV and FLIR.

Military version of A.109K2 with external braced hardpoints, fixed landing gear and sliding side doors.

A 109KN
Shipboard version with equivalent roles to A 109KM, including anti-ship, over-the-horizon surveillance and targeting and vertical replenishment.

A 109 LUH

Light utility version for the South African Air Force (SAAF) with Turbomeca Arrius 2K2 engines; production and final assembly by Denel. Orders placed for 30 aircraft, plus 10 options.

A.109 MAX
Medevac version certificated in USA by Agusta Aerospace Corporation early 1989 with large upward-opening bulged doors and fairings give 3.96cu.m cabin volume and allow for two stretchers across main cabin and three sitting attendants/patients

A 109 Power

Version based on A 109K2 airframe.


Agusta 109
Engines: 2 x Allison 250-C20B, 420 shp         
TBO: 1,500 hrs
Main rotor dia: 36 ft. 1 in                
Length: 36 ft. 7 in
Height: 9 ft. 6 in                    
Disc loading: 5.3 lb/sq.ft
Empty wt: 3,224 lb                
Useful load: 2,176 lb
Payload with full fuel: 1,233 lb            
Gross weight: 5,400 lb
Power loading: 6.4 lb/hp                
Fuel cap: 146 USG/986 lb
Baggage capacity: 330 lb                
Baggage area: 18.4 cu.ft
ROC: 1,620 fpm                    
SE ROC: 300fpm
Service ceiling: 15,000 ft                
SE service ceiling: 2,625 ft
VNE: 167 kt                    
Max cruise: 150 kt
Economy cruise: 129 kt                
Range @ max cruise (45-min res): 193 nm
Range @ economy cruise (45-min res): 238 nm    
Duration @ max cruise (no res, std tanks): 2.2 hr
HIGE: 9,800 ft                    
HOGE: 6,700 ft
Seats: 8

Engine: 2 x Allison 250-C14, 370shp

Engine: 2 x Allison 250-C14, 370shp

A.109A Mk.II
Engine: 2 x Allison 250-C20B, 420 shp / 298kW    
TBO: 3500 hr
Main rotor: 36.1 ft                
No. Blades: 4
Fuselage length: 10.7 m                
Crew: 2
Pax: 6                        
Seats: 8
Length: 45.2 ft                    
Height: 11 ft
Max ramp weight: 5730 lb                
Max takeoff weight: 5730 lb
Standard empty weight: 3640 lb            
Max useful load: 2090 lb
Max landing weight: 5730 lb            
Max sling load: 2000 lb
Disc loading: 5.6 lb/sq.ft                
Power loading: 6.8 lb/hp
Max usable fuel: 978 lb                
Max rate of climb: 1620 fpm
Service ceiling: 15,000 ft                
Hover in ground effect: 9800 ft
Hover out of ground effect: 6700 ft            
Max speed: 147 kt
ROC: 515 m/min                    
Normal cruise @ 3000 ft: 142 kt
Fuel flow @ normal cruise: 355 pph        
Endurance @ normal cruise: 2.6 hr
Fuel cap: 560 lt

A109-Mk.II Plus
Engines: 2 x Allison 250-C20B            
Cruise: 150 kt
Fuel cap: 191 USG                
Range incl res: 440 nm
Max endurance: 4:35 hr                
Useful load 1 hr fuel: 1168 kg.

A.109C Hirondo
Engines 2 x Allison 250-C20R/1            
Rotor dia. 11.0 m
Max T/O weight 2,720 kg                
Max payload 907 kg
Max useful load 1,110 kg                
Max cruise 150 kt
Max range 780 km               
HIGE 11,398 ft
HOGE 8,000 ft                    
Service ceiling 15,000 ft
Seats: 8

A.109E Power
Engines: 2 x P&W PW-206C / Turbomeca Arrius 2K1, 631 shp
Weight empty: 1590 kg / 3,505 lb             
Internal load: 2850 kg
External load: 3000 kg                 
Max take off weight: 6284.3 lb / 2850.0 kg
Rotor Diameter: 36.089 ft / 11 m             
Length: 13.04 m
Height: 11.483 ft / 3.5 m                 
Maximum Rate of Climb: 9.8 m/s
Service ceiling: 13301 ft / 4054 m            
Cruising altitude: 4987 ft / 1520 m
Max. speed: 168 kt / 311 km/h            
Cruising speed: 162 kt / 300 km/h
Range: 948 km                     
Endurance: 4 h

A.109 EOA
Engine: 2 x Allison 250-C20R

Engine: 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 1K1, 722 shp (538 kW)
Rotor dia: 11.0 m                    
Max T/O weight: 2,850 kg
Max payload: 1,197 kg                
Max speed: 142 kt
Max range: 580 km                
HIGE: 18,600 ft
HOGE: 15,190 ft                    
Crew: 1
Passengers: 7

Engine: 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 1K1, 550 kW        
Rotor dia: 11 m
MTOW: 2720 kg                    
Useful load: 1100 kg
Max speed: 152 kt                
Max cruise: 145 k
Max range (max payload): 543 km            
HIGE: 18,602 ft
HOGE: 15,190 ft                    
Service ceiling: 20,000 ft
Crew: 1                        
Pax: 7


Engine: 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 1K1, 575 kW        
MTOW: 2850 kg
Max speed: 142 kt                
Max range: 543 km
HIGE: 18,600 ft                    
HOGE: 15,1900 ft
Crew: 2





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