Leonardo unveils AW249 attack helicopter at Eurosatory 2024


The Leonardo AW249 attack helicopter made its international debut at Eurosatory in Paris on June 18, 2024.  

Designated AH-249A NEES ‘Fenice’ [Phoenix in Italian—ed. note], it is marketed as an exploration and escort helicopter. It was developed through a collaboration between the Italian Ministry of Defense and Leonardo and is designed for missions ranging from aerial escort to close air support, combat attack, and reconnaissance. 

The AW249 helicopter is powered by two General Electric CT7-8E6 turboshaft engines of around 2,500 shaft horsepower each. It boasts a maximum cruise speed of 287 kilometers per hour (155 knots) and a maximum operational range of 796 kilometers (430 nautical miles).  

With a payload capacity of 2,800 kilograms (6,170 pounds), the AW249 helicopter is equipped with a versatile array of weaponry, including guided and unguided 70 mm rockets, air-to-air infrared-guided missiles, and air-to-ground radiofrequency or fiber optic guided missiles. It also features a 20 mm 3-barrel cannon integrated with an advanced helmet display system for precise targeting. 

The AH-249A NEES is set to replace the Italian Army’s aging fleet of Agusta A129 Mangusta attack helicopters. It completed its maiden flight on August 12, 2022. Production is expected to commence soon, with deliveries scheduled for 2027.  

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