The new AB.139 - The medium twin engine helicopter capable of carrying up to 15 passengers or 2500kg useful load at 157 knots, in the most spacious cabin and with power to spare.
The AB.139 combines the benefits of proven technology and the latest new-generation system integration and compliance with the demanding JAR/FAR 29 standards. Add these benefits to the latest safety features, and you have the best vertical lift capability in the medium twin class.
This aircraft is setting the new standard against which all medium twin helicopters will be measured to satisfy the operator's needs of today and tomorrow.
Bell and Agusta announced on 8 September 1998 that they had agreed to establish a joint venture to manage development of two new aircraft: the BA609 tiltrotor, previously a Bell and Boeing programme, and the AB139, a new helicopter announced on the same day. Following approval of both boards, a definitive agreement was signed on 6 November 1998. Bell is the majority shareholder and will undertake final assembly for AB139s delivered to North America. Agusta. which has built Bell helicopters under licence since 1952, is investing and participating in development of the BA609, manufacturing some components and assembling those sold in Europe and certain other parts of the world. Additionally, Agusta is responsible for the AB139's development and certification, with participation by Bell. A military version was revealed in July 2000. Flight testing of the AB139 began in February 2001, followed by the BA609 in March 2003.
Announced at Farnborough Air Show, 8 September 1998, as joint venture between Agusta and Bell; to complement, rather than replace, Bell 412. Full-scale mockup unveiled at Pans Air Show 12 June 1999. Agusta responsible for development, certification to JAR/FAR 29 and transition to production, with participation by Bell on a 75:25% work-share basis; final assembly by Agusta at Vergiate, and by Bell (possibly at Mirabel, Canada) for American and Pacific Rim customers. No designated "prototype"; first preproduction aircraft (01, later I-ACOI) undertook maiden flight on 3 February 2001 followed bv second aircraft (02, later I-ATWO) on 4 June 2001 and third (03, later I-EPIC) on 22 October 2001; Assembly of first production aircraft began in late November 2001; this (I-ANEW) demonstrated at Farnborough in July 2002. Three preproduction aircraft and one tie-down helicopter (TDH) undertook flight test programme leading to Italian certification on 20 June 2003, following 1,600 hour ground and flight test programme (including those flown by first preproduction aircraft which was lost in crash on 22 April 2002) and 750 hours completed on the TDH. Full-scale mockup of AB139 Military unveiled at Farnborough International 2000 in July 2000; development may follow certification of civilian version, but not being actively promoted in mid-2003.
Risk-sharing collaborators include GKN Westland (tail rotor drive train), Honeywell (avionics), Kawasaki (transmission input module), Liebherr Germany (landing gear and air conditioning system), Pratt & Whitney Canada (power plant) and PZL Swidnik (airframe components).
AB139: Commercial law enforcement and SAR version, as described.
AB139 Military: Proposed multirole military helicopter with provision for armoured crew seats, electronic warfare protection, IR suppressors, two internal pintle-mounted machine guns and easily removable stubwing weapons supports for gun pods, rocket launchers and AAMs.
CUSTOMERS: More than 80 ordered by 25 customers by June 2003. Launch customer Bristow Helicopters of UK announced order for two on 26 September 2000 for delivery in 2003. Hawker Pacific ordered four on 12 February 2001 for corporate, utility and offshore operations in the Arabian Gulf. Recent customers include the government of Namibia, which has ordered two for VIP and multi-mission duties, and Evergreen International, which ordered two in June 2003. Selected for US Coast Guard 'Deepwater' programme vertical take-off/landing recovery and surveillance (VRS) requirement, with first delivery expected in 2012. Anticipated market for 900 over 20 years, some 55% for military use; 34% of sales projected in Europe, 23% in Middle East, 18% in Far East, 13% in South America and 12% in North America. Target of 20 deliveries by end of 2004.
COSTS: Commercial version US$7 million (2002).
DESIGN FEATURES: Design goals include high manoeuvrability and agility, low pilot workload, night/all-weather operation, low acoustic and infra-red emissions and mission flexibility for commercial and military operators. Intended for offshore support, medevac, corporate/VIP transport, SAR and military operations. Able to operate at maximum T-O weight from Class A helipads at 945m at ISA + 20°C. Five-blade, fully articulated, ballistic tolerant main rotor and four-blade tail rotor. Some transmission and rotor elements based on Agusta A129 Mangusta.
FLYING CONTROLS: Four-axis, digital AFCS.
LANDING GEAR: Heavy-duty, retractable tricycle type with twin wheels on nose unit; single wheels on mam units, which retract into side sponsons.
POWER PLANT: Two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turboshafts, with FADEC, each rated at 1,252kW for T-O and 1,142kW maximum continuous; OEI ratings 1,286kW for two minutes and 1,252kW maximum continuous. Fuel tanks behind main cabin. Main transmission can run for up to 30 minutes without oil.
ACCOMMODATION: Up to 15 passengers on crashworthy seats in three rows of five, two forward facing, one rearward facing, in unobstructed cabin with flat floor; flight-accessible baggage compartment at rear of cabin. Alternatively, six stretchers and four attendants in medevac configuration. Plug-type sliding door on each side of cabin, with separate crew doors.
SYSTEMS: Systems duplicated and separated, Main and tail rotor ice protection optional. Smiths Aerospace HUMS; Eaton Corporation Smart Zapper chip detection system for main transmission, intermediate and tail rotor gearboxes.
AVIONICS: Honeywell Primus Epic as core system. Provision for up to four 203 x 254mm high-definition colour active matrix liquid crystal displays for MFD, PFD and FLIR/video functions, and four-axis modular digital autopilot with flight director for hands-off operation and SAR modes.
Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 2004-2005
Technical data for Agusta AB139
Engine: 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turboshafts, take-off power capacity: 1250kW, max continous power capacity: 1140kW, main rotor diameter: 13.80m, length with rotors turning: 16.65m, fuselage length: 13.53m, width: 3.2m, height: 4.95m, take-off weight: 6000kg, internal payload: 2500kg, external payload: 2700kg, max cruising speed: 290km/h, economic cruising speed: 278km/h, hovering ceiling, OGE: 3600m, endurance: 3.9h