Leonardo AW-249 Fenice

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General Info

The Leonardo AW-249 Fenice (Phoenix) is a new attack helicopter made by Italy to meet emerging
operational requirements for the Italian army. It will replace the now old A129 Mangusta platform which has been severing inside of the Italian army for many decades. The Mangusta cannot be further upgraded, the Italian army plans to begin to phase out the Mangusta by 2025. A new program was created known as the ‘‘NESS’’ (Nuovo Elicottero da Esplorazione e Scorta), one of the first major steps towards this program would be taken on the 7th Jan of 2017 where the Directorate of the Ministry of Defense would sign an agreement with Leonardo to supply the Italian army with this new platform. This agreement would include the study, development, industrialization, production and testing of the prototypes and the first three production helicopters. The Italian army currently has ordered 48 units of the Fenice. The NESS program was relatively secretive at the start, not much info was ever released to the public and most people only could rely on for info would be in the form of early renders of the machine. As the years went by we would be revealed more info in regards to the AW-249, in regards to the armament it retains the OTO Melara TM197B light turreted gun system which was already present on the Mangusta, this time instead of 300 rounds it will be able to carry 500. This choice seemingly was taken as the 20mm cannon was deemed more than adequate to fufill the roles of the Fenice, so a replacement of even a higher calibre was not required. It has access to both air to air and air to ground munitions. As of now the main anti-tank armament planned for the Fenice will be the Israeli made Spike, already used on the A129 Mangusta Delta however the Italian army will acquire much better variants of this ATGM (Spike ER2) with increased leathality and range. Leonardo has also in recent times has offered the Brimstone ATGM on several air platforms of theirs, so its not unlikely that in the future it may also be offered for the Fenice. Besides that it will also have access to guided and unguided rockets. Similarly to the Mangusta, it also has 4 pylons but now in addition to those there will be 2 wing pylons for air to air missiles. Unlike the Mangusta, it will be able to carry much heavier payloads which means that a full loadodut would consist of x16 ATGM’s and x2/4 air to air missiles. One big leap which will give it the edge is the fact that it will be able to control drones, however its unknown if it also means it will be able to launch said drones from within the helicopter. In addition to all of this the Fenice also has access to an integrated Battlefield Management System. In terms of mobility, the new design is equipped with x2 General Electric CT7-8E6 engines which are able to output 2500hp each, these engines are produced in Italy by Avio Aereo. With these engines it will have a maximum take-off weight of approximately 7500/8000kg (approximately double of the A129 Mangusta). The AW-249’s max cruise speed is listed as 287 km/h, with an overall range of 796 km/h. In terms of survivability, it will be one of the most protected attack helicopters in the world. Besides the fact that it has a relatively low radar signature, a lot of important systems were able to be seperated, meaning it will be able to take a lot of hits and still make it back in one piece. The AW-249 has access to one of the most advanced self protection suites which includes RWR, LWR, anti-jamming, automatic EW detection with chaff and flare countermeasures and more. The first AW-249 Fenice prototype flew for the first time on the 12th of August 2022 from the Leonardo SpA facility in Vergiate, bearing the serial number CSX82069. The second prototype flew for the first time sometime in March of 2023, bearing the serial number X82097. According to the latest RID issue, Leonardo plans to have 4 prototypes flying by the end of 2024. The armament for this platform has already been tested since late 2023 and will continue to be tested through 2024 and early 2025. Production deliveries for the Italian army will commence by 2027. Many nations have expressed interested in the AW-249 so it is possibile that once deliveries for the Italian army are underway, Leonardo may end up also producing the helicopters for other armed forces.

Armament+Equipment
OTO Melara TM197B 20mm cannon
Spike ER2 ATGM’s (up to x16 max)
Hydra unguided rockets
Laser guided rockets (Cirit or perhaps APKWS)
Air to Air missiles (up to x8/x12, likely will be Stinger)
External fuel tanks
Anti jamming
Automatic EW detection with chaff and flare countermeasures
RWR
LWR
Latest NVD/Thermal imaging devices

Specifications

Spoiler

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Why it should be in game
The Italian helicopter tree will need a new top tier helicopter in the future once Gaijin begins to add more modern variants for other nations, the AW-249 would be the perfect machine to add when the time is right. Most info is publically availible and should be good enough to create a balanced model. Depending on the armament and battle rating, i think this helicopter would be balanced while also remaining competetive. I know its still a prototype but that has not stopped Gaijin from adding recently made vehicles still in the prototype stage.

Sources

Spoiler

RID 3 2024
RID 8 2023
Panorama Difesa NOV 2023
Leonardo AW-249 brochure
Air International 2021-04
Nuovo Elicottero da Esplorazione e Scorta (NEES) - Esercito Italiano
AW249
Leonardo AW249 - Wikipedia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOt-SpA-TNw
RID - Rivista Italiana Difesa - shownews - AW-249, una macchina da combattimento di nuova generazione
RID - Rivista Italiana Difesa - shownews - AW-249/AH-249: qualche aggiornamento sui test in volo
Leonardo AW249 prototype performs tests in Spain | Shephard
Prototype Of AW249 Attack Helicopter In Combat Livery Flies For The First time - The Aviationist
Elicottero AW249: uno dei rari progetti italiani che promette di non arrivare in ritardo – L' Europa della Libertà
Leonardo AW249 Dedicated Twin-Seat, Twin-Engine Attack Helicopter
https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2022-08-28/leonardo-aw249-makes-first-flight
Articles | Leonardo AW249 NEES
Primo volo per l’elicottero da combattimento Leonardo AW249 – Analisi Difesa
AW249 attack helicopter accelerates into flight-test campaign | News | Flight Global
New Photos Of The New AW249 Attack Helicopter Emerge As Test Campaign Progresses - The Aviationist
Decolla il nuovo elicottero da combattimento Leonardo AH-249 NEES che accelera i test di volo - Aviation Report
Primo volo per il nuovo elicottero d'attacco AW249 di Leonardo - Coccarde Tricolori

Photos

Spoiler

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9 Likes

I want it now +1

1 Like

+1
It’s flown, it can be added

Beautiful heli too
Hopefully it would come with the Italian rockets too

1 Like

better then a129d

2 Likes

You know, the AH-64D is old and we need to really just replace it. Dangerous too, look up how many airmen have died flying these in all of 2023 alone in the US. I would recommend to US DoD to license build/buy these to replace the AH-64D (and or to replace half the fleet given US helicopter projects don’t seem favorable to win any bids anytime soon).

1 Like

+1. As of april, Poland and Hungary already considered the vehicle for operation, looks very promising.

1 Like