Agusta A109 Hirundo: Shaken Not Stirred

[Would you like to see this in-game?]
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Introduction: The A109 is a famous helicopter, in service with many countries around the world. The UK is a lesser known operator of the type, but the story in which they acquired their first helicopters, and for the purposes they used them for are highly intriguing.

Argentine Service: The Agusta A109 is a classic helicopter, recognisable in the skies of many cities around the world by its elegant lines, whilst in flight ferrying some executive above. The A109 is also known for being a highly reliable and nimble workhorse, making it popular with many militaries around the world. In the 1970’s, Argentina was one of these countries, around which they formed the nucleus of a scout and utility helicopter fleet, becoming operational in 1979. In 1982, the helicopters were deployed to the Falklands during the conflict which occurred that year. Three helicopters were deployed to the islands in April 1982, being detached alongside five SA-330L Pumas, two CH-47C Chinooks and nine UH-1H Hueys. Initially being stationed at the former Royal Marines barracks at Moody Brook, the 109s performed escort missions for their larger counterparts, reconnaissance missions, and aided in the setting up of defences on the islands. After the commencement of hostilities, the helicopters kept these roles, as well as taking on the commando support role, medevac and logistical support. The helicopters took part in the Battle of San Carlos Water and the Battle of Goose Green. In their 68-day deployment on the island, the A109s clocked up to 250 hours, with the loss of one helicopter and no losses to any of their crew. Their survival was attributed to their nap-of-the-earth flying, as well as taking different routed between their bases at Moody Brook, Mounts Kent and Two Sisters, and at the Port Stanley Racecourse.

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British Service: It was at the Racecourse that the A109s were captured, by 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines. These helicopters had serials AE-334 and AE-331. These were then flown to HMS Fearless, which was anchored in San Carlos Water. The ship then set sail for the journey back to the UK, where the helicopters were unloaded upon the ship’s arrival in Plymouth. The A109s were then exhibited at various airshows, before being tested for a period of about six months. In about mid-1983, it was decided to press the helicopters into service in support of the SAS with AE-334 becoming ZE410 and ZE-331 becoming ZE411. These helicopters were then painted in civilian type liveries in order to discreetly transport operatives around the country, hiding their special jobs. Apart from this, these helicopters were also likely involved in the training of special forces as well. Due to this, they were likely fitted with equipment to facilitate the fast-rope insertion of special forces personnel. The history of these helicopters is murky, with little being known about their service in UK hands, due to the secretive nature of their missions. All that is known is that these helicopters had been retired by 2009, replaced by Eurocopter Dauphins. Currently, these helicopters have been preserved, either being on display or in storage at the Army Flying Museum at Middle Wallop.

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Performance:

Spoiler

General Characteristics:

Crew: 1 or 2

Length: 11.448 m

Height: 3.50 m

Empty weight: 1,590 kg

Max takeoff weight: 2,850 kg

Powerplant: 2 Γ— Allison 250-C20-B

Main rotor diameter: 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)

Performance

Maximum speed: 311 km/h

Cruise speed: 285 km/h

Never exceed speed: 311 km/h

Rate of climb: 9.8 m/s

Armament:

FN Herstal 7.62 Mg pods (1 gun per pod)

70mm Albatros rockets in pods of 7 and 9 rockets (XM157 & XM158= locally produced Gallo)

Note: The A109s in Argentine service could carry a slightly more varied loadout, including ATGMs, however, I left these out as these were not included on the helicopter when they were taken back to the UK. If there is support, I may reconsider, but as of now, I don’t really see it as necessary.

Special thanks to @OsO73 for letting me use the performance data from his Argentine Helicopter Tech Tree suggestion, the link to the post on the old forum is below:
Argentine Helicopter Tech Tree - Other Nations - War Thunder - Official Forum

Conclusion: I believe that this would make for an interesting lower-tier helicopter, mainly due to the history in which it operated, which would make it a perfect candidate for an event vehicle.

Sources:

Spoiler

Agusta 109 in Argentine military service – Gaceta Aeronautica (English)

https://www.helis.com/database/model/Agusta-A109/

British Army A109's | Key Aero

Agusta A109 Of 8 Flight Army Air Corps

https://www.helis.com/database/modelorg/337/

Demobbed - Out of Service British Military Aircraft

Huey Argentinian owned British captured Inf. required - Aircraft Cold War - Britmodeller.com

It can be a good low tier Event heli +1

1 Like

I voted β€œNo” due to the poor anti-tank loadout, which will make this helicopter hard to use in War Thunder. We already have AB.205 with similar issues, anything less than 38 dumb-fire rockets will struggle to survive or kill tanks (unless Gaijin starts adding more soft targets in Heli PVE - but I doubt it).

Suggestion passed to the developers for consideration.

1 Like