A glimpse into the cockpit of the HH-101A “Caesar” Special Operations Helicopter

The “Caesar” is considered one of the most advanced helicopters for CSAR and Personnel Recovery duties available today.

On Feb. 25, the Italian Air Force took delivery of its first AgustaWestland (now a division of Finmeccanica Group) HH-101A “Caesar” medium-lift helicopter during an official ceremony held at Cervia airbase, Italy.

The helicopter, a military variant of the AW.101, is one of four HH-101A helicopters, out of a total requirement of 15, delivered from the Finmeccanica Helicopter Division’s assembly line in Yeovil (UK) to date.

It will be used to perform personnel recovery and special forces missions, SAR (Search And Rescue) and CSAR missions, as well as medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) tasks.

Interestingly, the helicopter will also be used to counter small aerial threats undertaking the Slow Mover Intercept

According to Finmeccanica, the HH-101A is able to accommodate up to five crew members plus twenty fully equipped troops or six crew members plus 8 troops for special operations, ensuring maximum mission flexibility.

It features three M134 7.62 mm pintle mounted Gatling-type machine guns installed on right and left sides and on the rear ramp provided by Finmeccanica Defence Systems Division, armoured cockpit seats, ballistic protection for machine gun operators as well as for critical systems and an Integrated Electronic Warfare System.

The chopper is also equipped with some cutting-edge avionics, sensors and self-protection systems including radios, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), crypto, Link 16, intercommunications system, Gabbiano radar system, Laser Warning Receiver (LWR) and a Missile Launch Detection System (MILDS).

By means of a kit the HH-101A can extend its operating range performing HAAR (Helicopter Air-to-Air Refueling) ops.

HH101 delivery

Image credit: Finmeccanica

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.