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Eurosatory 2024: Leonardo debuts AW249 heavy attack helicopter

Leonardo debuts the AW249 attack helicopter at Eurosatory 2024. Pictured is one of the four prototypes built by the company to test the platform's systems. (Janes/Olivia Savage)

Leonardo debuts its new AW249 heavy attack helicopter at Eurosatory 2024, held from 17 to 21 June in Paris.

The two-seat attack helicopter, being developed by Leonardo, is intended primarily for the Italian Armed Forces.

In total, 48 AW249 platforms are being provided to the Italian Armed Forces with deliveries expected to begin from 2027, the Programme Manager for AW249 at the Italian Army, Major General Matteo Bergamo, detailed to Janes and other media representatives at the show.

Explaining AW249, Maj Gen Bergamo said the design of the helicopter prioritises countering peer threats capable of deploying anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) ‘bubbles'.

Based on this, the helicopter has been designed around a multidomain approach supported by six key pillars: interoperability, connectivity, and multidomain integration; manoeuvrability and speed in any operational environment; lethality and precision both close and deep; ‘crewed-uncrewed teaming'; survivability; and sustainability and supportability.

New requirements and emerging technologies are being introduced to support these six pillars, including air-launched effects and airborne loitering munitions, counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UASs), very long-range missiles, and artificial intelligence (AI) for flight and logistics.

A new digital battlespace management system (BMS) is also under development, aimed at reducing the operator burden while providing situational awareness to the pilot and co-pilot.

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