First black-colored HH-101A Caesar special ops helicopter presented by the Italian Air Force

Jun 22 2015 - 8 Comments

The Italian Air Force is about to take the first AgustaWestland HH-101A Caesar on charge.

On Jun. 19, the Italian Air Force presented its first AgustaWestland HH-101A Caesar helicopter (a military variant of the AW.101) to the press at Cervia airbase, home of 1st Brigata Aerea Operazioni Speciali (Special Operation Air Brigade).

Pierpaolo Maglio was there to report about the event for The Aviationist and take the interesting photographs you can find in this post.

As Maglio reports, the first Caesar, coded 15-03 (still carrying the experimental serial number CSX 81866, that will become M.M. 81866 as soon as the airframe is formally assigned to the Italian Air force) flew from the UK to Cervia with a mixed crew of 2 AgustaWestland pilots and 4 Italian Air Force crew members whose training is going to be over in the next few weeks.

Caesar 2

The roomy cargo bay was almost void with just 5 seats installed for the journey.

The Italian Air Force has ordered 12 HH-101As with an option for 3 more examples. The aircraft will be assigned to 21° Gruppo (Squadron), currently flying the AB.212 at Grazzanise airbase. The “Tiger” squadron of the Italian Air Force will be assigned to 15° Stormo and based at Cervia, where new facilities to host the unit are being built.

Caesar 3

Later on, a detachment will also be established at Trapani airbase in Sicily.

According to Maglio, the Commander of 15th Stormo, Col. Massimetti, said that CaeSAR is simply the perfect machine to fill the gap left in the heavy SAR role by the retirement of the old HH-3F on September 2014. Though a good and fast machine, the immediate replacement for the Pelican, the HH-139A, is in a much smaller category: in disaster relief operation the HH-101A offers a significant payload and could save as much as 25 people (or more) in each sortie.

Caesar 4

Along with traditional SAR (Search And Rescue) duties, the HH-101A will also conduct Combat SAR, Personnel Recovery, Slow Mover Interceptor and Special Operation Air Support. For these tasks, it will be equipped with up to 3 guns (two from the sides and one six-barrel mini-gun in the rear ramp swinging down from the ceiling in order not to block the ramp while not in use), advanced self defensive systems and air refueling probe.

Col. Massimetti also praised the new machine for its maneuverability and perfect performance in brown-out and white-out conditions. Noteworthy, the tips of the blades of the main rotor of the new helicopter take advange of BERP design and have downward pointing winglets that help in keeping a clear area under the HH-101A upon landing in dust or snow conditions.

Caesar 5

Pierpaolo Maglio talked to the aircrew of the very first HH-101A who said the CaeSAR is also very silent, much more than smaller helicopters, something that will help a lot in Special Ops missions along with its cool night paint.

Caesar cockpit

Image credit: Pierpaolo Maglio

 

  • FlyingBarrister

    The BERP tips on the main rotor blades are large and substantial. They have considerable planform size, sweep, and are anhedral. I’d like to hear it fly.

    • Business traveller

      EH101´s fly over my apartment most days. It´s a pretty deep rumble, and it´s actually quite noisy.

  • kusanagi no tsurugi

    It lacks a refueling probe…if you want to CSAR or special ops you need it..

    • cencio4

      Please read the article:
      “For these tasks, it will be equipped with up to 3 guns (two from the sides and one six-barrel mini-gun in the rear ramp swinging down from the ceiling in order not to block the ramp while not in use), advanced self defensive systems and air refueling probe.”

      • kusanagi no tsurugi

        Of course I read it, the fact it’s the chopper arrived but still lacks it…will it be procured in one year, 2 or more? This trend of getting airframes delivered without part of their mission equipment (I’m not referring to softwares, only hardware) is pure stupidity, just look at the typhoons: the first batches didn’t even had the IRST…get the aircraft later but fully equipped THEN get the IOC and more with a complete weapon system…

        • cencio4

          You mean this probe:
          https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/HH101-Cameri.jpg
          right?

          Who’s told you IFR probes were not procured? Or It’s just your guess?

          • Kusanagi no tsurugi

            So it already has it…then why use the verbs “will be equipped” if they have it here and now? You playing mind games?

            • cencio4

              They will install the probe when needed. But they have already bought them. You said that these were coming in years.
              There is a difference between “equip” and “procure.”