Monday, February 29, 2016

Italy operationlise first AW101 Caesar SAR helicopters

Italian Air Force operationalised first batch of their advanced search and rescue helicopter, the AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter designated the HH-101A “CAESAR”, during an official ceremony at Cervia Air Base.


A total of four HH-101A “CAESAR” helicopters, out of a total requirement of 15, have been delivered from the Finmeccanica Helicopter Division’s assembly line in Yeovil (UK) to date, and will be used to perform personnel recovery and special forces missions.

The HH-101As will also support search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and slow mover intercept operations, countering small aircraft threats, to provide effective support to the Italian community.

With the HH-101A “CAESAR” the Italian Air Force is introducing into service the most advanced and capable aircraft available today for this demanding operational requirement, developed and tailored to meet specific customer needs in the framework of its helicopter fleet modernisation programme.

With the first HH-101A “CAESAR” now fully operational, the Italian Air Force is entering a new era, with a quantum leap forward in capabilities for both homeland operations and missions abroad in demanding conditions.

The HH-101A will be able to host a combination of up to five crew members plus twenty fully equipped troops or six crew members plus 8 troops for special operations ensuring maximum flexibility.

The helicopters will also feature three M134 7.62 mm pintle mounted Gatling-type machine guns installed on right and left sides and on the rear ramp, armoured cockpit seats, ballistic protection for machine gun operators as well as for critical systems and an Integrated Electronic Warfare System providing self-protection against radar, laser and infrared threats.

The HH-101A also feature an air-to-air refuelling kit for extended range operations.  

Over 220 AW101 helicopters have been ordered so far by customers worldwide to perform a large number of roles including Personnel Recovery, Special Forces Operations, SAR, Combat SAR, utility, troop transport, Anti-Surface Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Airborne Early Warning, mine sweeping and VVIP transport.