AgustaWestland performed the first flight of a prototype AW149 medium twin helicopter on 13 November, with the 20min debut having included an assessment of the new model’s “general handling and basic systems”.

Flown by chief test pilot Giuseppe Lo Coco from AgustaWestland’s Vergiate plant in Italy, the aircraft “performed as expected”, the company says.

 AW149 debut - AgustaWestland
© AgustaWestland

A second prototype will fly next year with an all-new transmission and production-configuration General Electric CT7-2E1 engines, each capable of producing a maximum output of 2,000shp (1,490kW).

Designed for use as a future search and rescue asset for the Italian air force, the 8.1t AW149 is also currently being offered to the Turkish armed forces for a tri-service utility helicopter requirement.

 AW149 debut 2 - AgustaWestland
© AgustaWestland

The aircraft will be able to carry up to 18 troops in battlefield utility configuration, with its manufacturer saying the type will also be suitable for combat search and rescue tasks and medical evacuation duties. Initial operational capability is being targeted for 2014.

AgustaWestland’s AW149 milestone came one day after the company had performed the first flight of its Lynx Wildcat/AW159 design in the UK. The company also flew its first prototype of the T129 attack helicopter for Turkey on 28 September.